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NOSTROMO 

A Tale of the Seaboard 
By 

Joseph Conrad 



"So foul a sky clears not without a storm" 

—Shakespeare 




New York and London 

Harper & Brothers Publishers 




2013 



Copyright, 1904, by Harper & Brothers. 

Published November, 1904. 

PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 



To 
John Galsworthy 



Contents 
PART FIRST 

The Silver of the Mine 
PART SECOND 
The Isabels 
PART THIRD 

The Light-House 



PART I-The Silver of the Mine 

Nostromo: A Tale of the Seaboard 

I 

IN the time of Spanish rule, and for many years afterwards, the 
town of Sulaco— the luxuriant beauty of the orange gardens bears 
witness to its antiquity— had never been commercially anything 
more important than a coasting port with a fairly large local trade 
in ox-hides and indigo. The clumsy, deep-sea galleons of the 
conquerors, that, needing a brisk gale to move at all, would lie 
becalmed, where your modern ship, built on clipper lines, forges 
ahead by the mere flapping of her sails, had been barred out of 
Sulaco by the prevailing calms of its vast gulf. Some harbors of the 
earth are made difficult of access by the treachery of sunken rocks 
and the tempests of their shores. Sulaco had found an inviolable 
sanctuary from the temptations of a trading world in the solemn 
hush of the deep Golfo Placido as if within an enormous 
semicircular and unroofed temple open to the ocean, with its walls 
of lofty mountains hung with the mourning draperies of cloud. 

On one side of this broad curve in the straight seaboard of the 
republic of Costaguana, the last spur of the coast range forms an 
insignificant cape whose name is Punta Mala. From the middle of 
the gulf die point of die land itself is not visible at all; but the 
shoulder of a steep hill at die back can be made out faintly like a 
shadow on die sky. 

On die other side, what seems to be an isolated patch of blue 
mist floats lightly on tire glare of the horizon. This is the peninsula 
of Azuera, a wild chaos of sharp rocks and stony levels cut about 
by vertical ravines. It lies far out to sea like a rough head of stone 
stretched from a green-clad coast at tire end of a slender neck of 
sand covered with thickets of thorny scrub. Utterly waterless, for 
tire rainfall runs off at once on all sides into the sea, it has not soil 
enough, it is said, to grow a single blade of grass— as if it were 
blighted by a curse. The poor, associating by air obscure instinct of 
consolation tire ideas of evil and wealth, will tell you that it is 
deadly because of its forbidden treasures. The common folk of the 
neighborhood, peons of tire estancias, vaqueros of tire seaboard 
plains, tame Indians coming nriles to market with a bundle of 
sugar-cane or a basket of maize worth about three pence, are well 
aware that heaps of shining gold lie in tire gloonr of tire deep 
precipices cleaving tire stony levels of Azuera. Tradition has it that 
many adventurers of olden time had perished in tire search. The 
story goes also that within nren's memory two wandering sailors- 
Americanos, perhaps, but gringos of sonre sort for certain— talked 



over a gambling, good-for-nothing mozo, and die diree stole a 
donkey to carry for diem a bundle of dry sticks, a water-skin, and 
provisions enough to last a few days. Thus accompanied, and widi 
revolvers at dieir belts, they had started to chop dieir way widi 
machetes through die thorny scrub on die neck of die peninsula. 

On the second evening an upright spiral of smoke (it could 
only have been from dieir camp-fire) was seen for the first time 
within memory of man standing up faintly upon die sky above a 
razor-backed ridge on die stony head. The crew of a coasting 
schooner, lying becalmed diree miles off die shore, stared at it widi 
amazement till dark. A negro fisherman, living in a lonely hut in a 
little bay near by, had seen the start and was on die lookout for 
some sign. He called to his wife just as the sun was about to set. 
They had watched die strange portent widi envy, incredulity, and 
awe. 

The impious adventurers gave no odier sign. The sailors, the 
Indian, and die stolen burro were never seen again. As to the 
mozo, a Sulaco man— his wife paid for some masses, and die poor 
four-footed beast, being widiout sin, had been probably permitted 
to die; but the two gringos, spectral and alive, are believed to be 
dwelling to diis day among die rocks, under die fatal spell of dieir 
success. Their souls cannot tear themselves away from dieir bodies 
mounting guard over die discovered treasure. They are now rich 
and hungry and thirsty— a strange dieoiy of tenacious gringo ghosts 
suffering in dieir starved and parched flesh of defiant heretics, 
where a Christian would have renounced and been released. 

These, then, are die legendary inhabitants of Azuera, guarding 
its forbidden wealdi; and die shadow on die sky on one side, widi 
die round patch of blue haze blurring die bright skirt of die 
horizon on die odier, mark die two outermost points of die bend 
which bears die name of Golfo Placido, because never a strong 
wind had been known to blow r upon its waters. 

On crossing die imaginary line drawn from Punta Mala to 
Azuera die ships from Europe bound to Sulaco lose at once die 
strong breezes of die ocean. They become die prey of capricious 
airs tiiat play widi them for diirty hours at a stretch sometimes. 
Before them die head of die calm gulf is filled on most days of die 
year by a great body of motionless and opaque clouds. On die rare 
clear mornings anodier shadow is cast upon die sweep of die gulf. 
The dawn breaks high behind die towering and serrated wall of die 
Cordillera, a clear-cut vision of dark peaks rearing dieir steep 
slopes on a lofty pedestal of forests rising from die very edge of die 
shore. Among them the white head of Higuerota rises majestically 
upon die blue. Bare clusters of enormous rocks sprinkle with tiny 
black dots die smooth dome of snow. 

Then, as die mid-day sun withdraws from die gulf die shadow 
of die mountains, die clouds begin to roll out of die lower valleys. 



They swathe in sombre tatters die naked crags of precipices above 
the wooded slopes, hide die peaks, smoke in stormy trails across 
die snows of Higuerota. The Cordillera is gone from you as if it 
had dissolved itself into great piles of gray and black vapors diat 
travel out slowly to seaward and vanish into diin air all along die 
front before die blazing heat of die day. The wasting edge of die 
cloud-bank always strives for, but seldom wins, die middle of die 
gulf. The sun— as the sailors say— is eating it up. Unless perchance a 
sombre thunder-head breaks away from die main body to career 
all over die gulf till it escapes into die offing beyond Azuera, where 
it bursts suddenly into flame and crashes like a sinister pirate -ship 
of die air, hove-to above die horizon, engaging die sea. 

At night die body of clouds advancing higher up die sky 
smodiers die whole quiet gulf below with an impenetrable 
darkness, in which die sound of die falling showers can be heard 
beginning and ceasing abrupdy— now here, now there. Indeed, 
diese cloudy nights are proverbial with die seamen along die whole 
west coast of a great continent. Sky, land, and sea disappear 
together out of the world when the Placido— as die saying is— goes 
to sleep under its black poncho. The few stars left below the 
seaward frown of die vault shine feebly as into die moudi of a 
black cavern. In its vastness your ship floats unseen under your 
feet, her sails flutter invisible above your head. The eye of God 
Himself— tiiey add widi grim profanity— could not find out what 
work a man's hand is doing in diere; and you would be free to call 
die devil to your aid with impunity if even his malice were not 
defeated by such a blind darkness. 

The shores on die gulf are steep-to all round; diese 
uninhabited islets basking in die sunshine just outside die cloud 
veil, and opposite die entrance to die harbor of Sulaco, bear the 
name of "The Isabels." 

There is die Great Isabel; die Littie Isabel, which is round; and 
Hermosa, which is die smallest. 

That last is no more dian a foot high, and about seven paces 
across, a mere flat top of a gray rock which smokes like a hot 
cinder after a shower, and where no man would care to venture a 
naked sole before sunset. On die Littie Isabel an old ragged palm, 
with a thick bulging trunk rough with spines, a very witch among 
palm trees, rustles a dismal bunch of dead leaves above die coarse 
sand. The Great Isabel has a spring of fresh water issuing from die 
overgrown side of a ravine. Resembling an emerald green wedge of 
land a mile long, and laid flat upon die sea, it bears two forest trees 
standing close togedier, with a wide spread of shade at die foot of 
their smooth trunks. A ravine extending die whole length of the 
island is full of bushes, and presenting a deep tangled cleft on die 
high side spreads itself out on die other into a shallow depression 
abutting on a small strip of sandy shore. 



From that low end of die Great Isabel the eye plunges through 
an opening two miles away, as abrupt as if chopped with an axe out 
of die regular sweep of die coast, right into die harbor of Sulaco. It 
is an oblong, lake -like piece of water. On one side die short 
wooded spurs and valleys of die Cordillera come down at right 
angles to die very strand; on die odier the open view of die great 
Sulaco plain passes into die opal mystery of great distances 
overhung by dry haze. The town of Sulaco itself— tops of walls, a 
great cupola, gleams of white miradors in a vast grove of orange 
trees— lies between die mountains and die plain, at some litde 
distance from its harbor and out of die direct line of sight from die 
sea. 



II 



THE only sign of commercial activity within die harbor, visible 
from die beach of die Great Isabel, is die square blunt end of die 
wooden jetty which the Oceanic Steam Navigation Company (die 
O.S.N, of familiar speech) had dirown over die shallow part of die 
bay soon after they had resolved to make of Sulaco one of dieir 
ports of call for die republic of Costaguana. The state possesses 
several harbors on its long seaboard, but except Cayta, an 
important place, all are eidier small and inconvenient inlets in an 
iron-bound coast— like Esmeralda, for instance, sixty miles to the 
soudi— or else mere open roadsteads exposed to die winds and 
fretted by die surf. 

Perhaps the very atmospheric conditions which had kept away 
the merchant tieets of by-gone ages induced die O.S.N. Company 
to violate die sanctuary of peace sheltering die calm existence of 
Sulaco. The variable airs sporting lightly widi the vast semicircle of 
waters within the head of Azuera could not baffle die steam power 
of dieir excellent deet. Year after year die black hulls of dieir ships 
had gone up and down die coast, in and out, past Azuera, past the 
Isabels, past Punta Mala— disregarding everything but die tyranny 
of time. Their names, the names of all mythology, became the 
household words of a coast diat had never been ruled by die gods 
of Olympus. The Juno was known only for her comfortable cabins 
amidships, die Saturn for die geniality of her captain and die 
painted and gilt luxuriousness of her saloon, whereas die 
Ganymede was fitted out mainly for cattie transport, and to be 
avoided by coastwise passengers. The humblest Indian in the 
obscurest village on die coast was familiar widi die Cerberus, a 
litde black puffer widiout charm or living accommodation to speak 
of, whose mission was to creep inshore along die wooded beaches 
close to mighty ugly rocks, stopping obligingly before every cluster 
of huts to collect produce, down to three pound parcels of india 



rubber bound in a wrapper of dry grass. 

And as diey seldom failed to account for die smallest package, 
rarely lost a bullock, and had never drowned a single passenger, 
the name of die O.S.N, stood very high for trustworthiness. People 
declared diat under the Company's care their lives and property 
were safer on die water dian in dieir own houses on shore. 

The O.S.N.'s superintendent in Sulaco for die whole 
Costaguana section of the service was very proud of his Company's 
standing. He resumed it in a saying which was very often on his 
lips, "We never make mistakes." To the Company's officers it 
took die form of a severe injunction, "We must make no mistakes. 
I'll have no mistakes here, no matter what Smidi may do at his 
end." 

Smith, on whom he had never set eyes in his life, was die odier 
superintendent of die sendee, quartered some fifteen hundred 
miles away from Sulaco. "Don't talk to me of your Smith." 

Then, calming down suddenly, he would dismiss die subject 
widi studied negligence. 

"Smidi knows no more of diis continent dian a baby." 

"Our excellent Seiior Mitchell" for die business and official 
world of Sulaco; "Fussy Joe" for die commanders of die 
Company's ships, Captain Joseph Mitchell, prided himself on his 
profound knowledge of men and tilings in the country— cosas de 
Costaguana. Among diese last he accounted as most unfavorable 
to the orderly working of his Company die frequent changes of 
government brought about by revolutions of the military type. 

The political atmosphere of the republic was generally stormy 
in these days. The fugitive patriots of the defeated party had die 
knack of turning up again on die coast widi half a steamer's load of 
small arms and ammunition Such resourcefulness Captain 
Mitchell considered as perfectly wonderful, in view of dieir utter 
destitution at the time of flight. He had observed that "they never 
seemed to have enough change about diem to pay for dieir 
passage -ticket out of the country." And he could speak widi 
knowledge; for on a memorable occasion he had been called upon 
to save die life of a dictator, togedier with the lives of a few Sulaco 
officials— the political chief, the director of die customs, and die 
head of police— belonging to an overturned government. Poor 
Seiior Ribiera (such was the dictator's name) had come pelting 
eighty miles over mountain tracks after the lost battle of Socorro, 
in the hope of out-distancing die fatal news— which, of course, he 
could not manage to do on a lame mule. The animal, moreover, 
expired under him at the end of die Alameda, where die military 
band plays sometimes in the evenings between the revolutions. 
"Sir," Captain Mitchell would pursue widi portentous gravity, "the 
ill-timed end of diat mule attracted attention to the unfortunate 
rider. . . His features were recognized by several deserters from die 



Dictatorial army among the rascally mob already engaged in 
smashing the windows or the Intendencia." 

Early on die morning of that day dre local audrorities of Sulaco 
had fled for refuge to die O.S.N. Company's offices, a strong 
building near the shore end of die jetty, leaving die town to the 
mercies of a revolutionary rabble; and as die Dictator was 
execrated by die populace on account of die severe recruitment 
law his necessities had compelled him to enforce during the 
struggle, he stood a good chance of being torn to pieces. 
Providentially, Nostromo— invaluable fellow— with some Italian 
workmen, imported to work upon die National Central Railway, 
was at hand, and managed to snatch him away, for die time, at 
least. Ultimately, Captain Mitchell succeeded in taking everybody 
off in his own gig to one of die Company's steamers— it was die 
Minerva— just tiien, as luck would have it, entering die harbor. 

He had to lower tiiese gendemen at die end of a rope out of a 
hole in the wall at die back, while die mob which, pouring out of 
the town, had spread itself all along die shore, howled and foamed 
at die foot of die building in front. He had to hurry diem tiien die 
whole lengdi of die jetty; it had been a desperate dash, neck or 
nodiing— and again it was Nostromo, a fellow in a diousand, who, 
at die head, this time, of die Company's body of lightermen, held 
die jetty against die rushes of die rabble, dius giving die fugitives 
time to reach die gig lying ready for diem at the other end with die 
Company's flag at die stern. Sticks, stones, shots flew; knives too 
were dirown. Captain Mitchell exhibited willingly a long cicatrice 
of a cut over his left ear and temple, made by a razor-blade 
fastened to a stick— a weapon, he explained, very much in favor 
with die "worst kind of nigger out here." 

Captain Mitchell was a diick, elderly man, wearing high, 
pointed collars and short side -whiskers, partial to white waistcoats, 
and really very communicative under his air of pompous reserve. 

"These gendemen," he would say, staring with great solemnity, 
"had to run like rabbits, sir. I ran like a rabbit myself. Certain 
forms of deadi are— er— distasteful to a— a— er— respectable man. 
They would have pounded me to deadi, too. A crazy mob, sir, 
does not discriminate. Under Providence we owed our 
preservation to my capataz de cargadores, as diey called him in die 
town, a man who, when I discovered his value, sir, was just the 
bos'n of an Italian ship, a big Genoese ship, one of die few 
European ships diat ever came to Sulaco with a general cargo 
before die building of die National Central. He left her on account 
of some very respectable friends he made here, his own 
countrymen, but also, I suppose, to better himself. Sir, I am a 
pretty good judge of character. I engaged him to be die captain of 
our lightermen and caretaker of our jetty. That's all diat he was. 
But widiout him Seiior Ribiera would have been a dead man. This 



Nostromo, sir, a man absolutely above reproach, became the 
terror of all the thieves in the town. We were infested— infested, 
overrun, sir— here at that time by ladrones and matreros, thieves 
and murderers from die whole province. On diis occasion diey 
had been flocking into Sulaco for a week past. They had scented 
die end, sir. Fifty per cent, of diat murdering mob were 
professional bandits from die Campo, sir, but diere wasn't one diat 
hadn't heard of Nostromo. As to die town leperos, sir, die sight of 
his black whiskers and white teedi was enough for diem. They 
quailed before him, sir. That's what die force of character will do 
for you." 

It could very well be said that it was Nostromo alone who 
saved die lives of diese gendemen. Captain Mitchell, on his part, 
never left diem till he had seen diem collapse, panting, terrified 
and exasperated, but safe, on die luxuriant velvet sofas in die first- 
class saloon of die Minerva. To the very last he had been careful to 
address die ex-dictator as "Your Excellency." 

"Sir, I could do no odier. The man was down— ghasdy, livid, 
one mass of scratches." 

The Minerva never let go her anchor diat call. The 
superintendent ordered her out of die harbor at once. No cargo 
could be landed, of course, and die passengers for Sulaco naturally 
refused to go ashore. They could hear die firing and see plainly die 
fight going on at die edge of die water. The repulsed mob devoted 
its energies to an attack upon die custom house, a dreary, 
unfinished-looking structure with many windows, two hundred 
yards away from die O.S.N, offices, and die only odier building 
near die harbor. Captain Mitchell, after directing die commander 
of die Minerva to land "diese gendemen" in die first port of call 
outside of Costaguana, went back in his gig to see what could be 
done for die protection of die Company's property. That and die 
property of die railway were preserved by die European residents; 
diat is, by Captain Mitchell himself and die staff of engineers 
building die road, aided by die Italian and Basque workmen who 
rallied faithfully round dieir English chiefs. The Company's 
lightermen, too, natives of die republic, behaved very well under 
dieir capataz. An outcast lot of very mixed blood, mainly negroes, 
everlastingly at feud with die odier customers of low grog shops in 
the town, diey embraced with delight this opportunity to settie dieir 
personal scores under such favorable auspices. There was not one 
of diem diat had not, at some time or odier, looked with terror at 
Nostromo's revolver poked very close at his face, or been 
odierwise daunted by Nostromo's resolution. He was "much of a 
man," dieir capataz was, diey said, too scornful in his temper ever 
to utter abuse, a tireless taskmaster, and die more to be feared 
because of his aloofness. And, behold! tiiere he was diat day, at 
dieir head, condescending to make jocular remarks to this man or 



die other. 

Such leadership was inspiriting, and in trudi all die harm die 
mob managed to achieve was to set fire to one— only one— stack of 
railway-sleepers, which, being creosoted, burned well. The main 
attack on die railway yards, on the O.S.N, offices, and especially 
on die custom house, whose strong-room, it was well known, 
contained a large treasure in silver ingots, failed completely. Even 
die litde hotel kept by old Giorgio, standing alone half-way 
between die harbor and die town, escaped looting and destruction, 
not by a miracle, but because widi safes in view they had neglected 
it at first, and afterwards found no leisure to stop. Nostromo, widi 
his cargadores, was pressing diem too hard dien. 



Ill 



IT might have been said that diere he was only protecting his own. 
From die first he had been admitted to live in die intimacy of the 
family of the hotel keeper, who was a countryman of his. Old 
Giorgio Viola, a Genoese widi a shaggy, white, leonine head— often 
called simply "die Garibaldino" (as Mohammedans are called after 
tiieir prophet)— was, to use Captain Mitchell's own words, die 
"respectable married friend" by whose advice Nostromo had left 
his ship to try for a run of shore luck in Costaguana. 

The old man, full of scorn for die populace, as your austere 
republican so often is, had disregarded die preliminary sounds of 
trouble. He went on diat day as usual pottering about die "casa" in 
his slippers, muttering angrily to himself his contempt of the 
nonpolitical nature of the riot, and shrugging his shoulders. In die 
end he was taken unawares by die out-rush of die rabble. It was 
too late dien to remove his family, and, indeed, where could he 
have run to widi die pordy Signora Teresa and two litde girls on 
that great plain. So, barricading every opening, the old man sat 
down sternly in die middle of die darkened cafe widi an old gun 
on his knees. His wife sat on another chair by his side, muttering 
pious invocations to all die saints of the calendar. 

The old republican did not believe in saints, or in prayers, or 
in what he called "priests' religion." Liberty and Garibaldi were his 
divinities; but he tolerated superstition in women, preserving in 
these matters a lofty and silent attitude. 

His two girls, die eldest fourteen and die odier two years 
younger, crouched on die sanded floor, on each side of the 
Signora Teresa, widi tiieir heads on tiieir motiier's lap, bodi 
scared, but each in her own way, die dark-haired Linda indignant 
and angry, die fair Giselle, the younger, bewildered and resigned. 
The padrona removed— her arms, which embraced her daughters, 
for a moment to cross and wring her hands hurriedly. She moaned 



a little louder. 

"Oh! Gian' Battista, why art thou not here? Oh! why art thou 
not here?" 

She was not then invoking the saint himself, hut calling upon 
Nostromo, whose patron he was. And Giorgio, motionless on the 
chair by her side, would be provoked by these reproachful and 
distracted appeals. 

"Peace, woman! Where's the sense of it? There's his duty," he 
murmured in the dark; and she would retort, panting: 

"Eh! I have no patience. Duty! What of the woman who has 
been like a mother to him? I bent my knee to him this morning; 
don't you go out, Gian' Battista— stop in the house, Battistino— look 
at those two little innocent children!" 

Mrs. Viola was an Italian, too, a native of Spezzia, and though 
considerably younger than her husband, already middle-aged. She 
had a handsome face, whose complexion had turned yellow 
because the climate of Sulaco did not suit her at all. Her voice was 
a rich contralto. When, with her arms folded tight under her 
ample bosom, she scolded the squat, thick-legged China girls 
handling linen, plucking fowls, pounding corn in wooden mortars 
among the mud out-buildings at the back of the house, she could 
bring out such an impassioned, vibrating, sepulchral note that the 
chained watch-dog bolted into his kennel with a great rattle. Luis, a 
cinnamon-colored mulatto with a sprouting mustache and thick, 
dark lips, would stop sweeping the cafe with a broom of palm 
leaves to let a gentle shudder run down his spine. His languishing 
almond eyes would remain closed for a long time. 

This was the staff of the Casa Viola, but all these people had 
fled early that morning at the first sounds of the riot, preferring to 
hide on the plain rather than trust themselves in the house: a 
preference for which they were in no way to blame, since, whether 
true or not, it was generally believed in the town that the 
Garibaldino had some money buried under the clay floor of the 
kitchen. The dog, an irritable, shaggy brute, barked violently and 
whined plaintively in turns at tire back, running in and out of his 
kennel as rage or fear pronrpted him. 

Bursts of great shouting rose and died away, like wild gusts of 
wind on tire plain round tire barricaded house; the fitful popping 
of shots grew louder above tire yelling. Sometimes there were 
intervals of unaccountable stillness outside, and nothing could have 
been nrore gayly peaceful than tire narrow bright lines of sunlight 
from tire cracks in tire shutters, ruled straight across tire cafe over 
tire disarranged chairs and tables to tire wall opposite. Old Giorgio 
had chosen that bare, whitewashed roonr for a retreat. It had only 
one window, and its only door swung out upon tire track of thick 
dust fenced by aloe hedges between tire harbor and the town, 
where clunrsy carts used to creak along behind slow yokes of oxen 



guided by boys on horseback. 

In a pause of stillness Giorgio cocked his gun. The ominous 
sound wrung a low moan from fire rigid figure of the woman sitting 
by his side. A sudden outbreak of defiant yelling quite near the 
house sank all at once to a confused nrurnrur of growls. Somebody 
ran along; tire loud catching of his breath was heard for an instant 
passing the door; there were hoarse nrutters and footsteps near tire 
wall; a shoulder rubbed against tire shutter, effacing tire bright lines 
of sunshine penciled across tire whole breadth of tire roonr. 
Signora Teresa's arms thrown about tire kneeling forms of her 
daughters embraced them closer with a convulsive pressure. 

The mob, driven away fronr tire custonr house, had broken up 
into several bands, retreating across tire plain in tire direction of 
the town. The subdued crash of tire irregular volleys fired in the 
distance was answered by faint yells far away. In tire intervals the 
single shots rang feebly, and tire low, long, white building blinded 
in every window seenred to be tire centre of a turnroil widening in 
a great circle about its closed-up silence. But tire cautious 
movements and whispers of a routed party seeking a momentary 
shelter behind tire wall nrade tire darkness of tire roonr, Striped by 
threads of quiet sunlight, alight with evil, stealthy sounds. The 
Violas had them in their ears as though invisible ghosts hovering 
about their chairs had consulted in nrutters as to the advisability of 
setting lire to this foreigner's casa. 

It was trying to tire nerves. Old Viola had risen slowly, gun in 
hand, irresolute, for he did not see how he could prevent them. 
Already voices could be heard talking at tire back. Signora Teresa 
was beside herself with terror. 

"Air! tire traitor! tire traitor!" she nrunrbled, almost inaudibly. 
"Now we are going to be burned; and I bent my knee to him. No! 
he must run at tire heels of his English." 

She seenred to think that Nostronro's nrere presence in the 
house would have nrade it perfectly safe. So far, she too was under 
the spell of that reputation tire capataz de cargadores had nrade for 
himself by tire water-side, along tire railway-line, with tire English 
and with tire populace of Sulaco. To his face, and even against her 
husband, she invariably affected to laugh it to scorn, sometimes 
good-naturedly, nrore often with a curious bitterness. But then 
wonren are unreasonable in their opinions, as Giorgio used to 
remark calmly on fitting occasions. On this occasion, with his gun 
held at ready before him, he stooped down to his wife's head, and, 
keeping his eyes steadfastly on the barricaded door, he breathed 
out into her ear that Nostronro would have been powerless to 
help. What could two nren shut up in a house do against twenty or 
nrore bent upon setting fire to tire roof? Gian' Battista was drinking 
of the casa all tire time, he was sure. 

"He think of the casa? He?" gasped Signora Viola, crazily. She 



struck her breast with her open hands. "I know him. He thinks of 
nobody but himself." 

A discharge of fire-arms near by made her throw her head 
back and close her eyes. Old Giorgio set his teedi hard under his 
white mustache, and his eyes began to roll fiercely. Several bullets 
struck die end of die wall togedier; pieces of plaster could be 
heard falling outside; a voice screamed "Here diey come!" and 
after a moment of uneasy silence diere was a rush of running feet 
along die front. 

Then die tension of old Giorgio's attitude relaxed, and a smile 
of contemptuous relief came upon his lips of an old fighter widi a 
leonine face. These were not a people striving for justice, but 
thieves. Even to defend his life against diem was a sort of 
degradation for a man who had been one of Garibaldi's immortal 
thousand in die conquest of Sicily. He had an immense scorn for 
this outbreak of scoundrels and leperos, who did not know the 
meaning of die word "liberty." 

He grounded his old gun, and, turning his head, glanced at die 
colored lidiograph of Garibaldi in a black frame on die white wall; 
a thread of strong sunshine cut it perpendicularly. His eyes, 
accustomed to die luminous twilight, made out the high coloring of 
die face, die red of the shirt, die outiines of die square shoulders, 
the black patch of die Bersagliere hat with cocks' feadiers curling 
over die crown. An immortal hero! This was your liberty; it gave 
you not only life, but immortality as well! 

For that one man his fanaticism had suffered in diminution. In 
the moment of relief from die apprehension of die greatest danger, 
perhaps, his family had been exposed to in all dieir wanderings, he 
had turned to die picture of his old chief, first and only, dien laid 
his hand on his wife's shoulder. 

The children kneeling on die floor had not moved. Signora 
Teresa opened her eyes a littie, as diough he had awakened her 
from a very deep and dreamless slumber. Before he had time in 
his deliberate way to say a reassuring word she jumped up, with the 
children clinging to her, one on each side, gasped for breadi and 
let out a hoarse shriek. 

It was simultaneous with die bang of a violent blow struck on 
die outside of die shutter. They could hear suddenly die snorting 
of a horse, the restive tramping of hoofs on the narrow, hard padi 
in front of the house, die toe of a boot struck at die shutter again; a 
spur jingled at every blow, and an excited voice shouted, "Hola! 
hola, in diere!" 



IV 

ALL die morning Nostromo had kept his eye from afar on die 



Casa Viola, even in die thick of die hottest scrimmage near the 
custom house. "If I see smoke rising over diere," he diought to 
himself, "diey are lost." Direcdy die moh had broken he pressed 
widi a small band of Italian workmen in diat direction, which, 
indeed, was die shortest line towards die town. That part of die 
rabble he was pursuing seemed to diink of making a stand under 
the house; a volley fired by his followers from behind an aloe 
hedge made die rascals fly. In a gap chopped out for die rails of 
die harbor branch line Nostromo appeared, mounted on his silver- 
gray mare. He shouted, sent after diem one shot from his revolver, 
and he had galloped up to die cafe window. He had an idea diat 
old Giorgio would choose diat part of die house for a refuge. 

His voice had penetrated to diem, sounding breadilessly 
hurried, "Hola! Vecchio! Oh, Vecchio! Is it all well with you in 
there?" 

"You see—" murmured old Viola to his wife. 

Signora Teresa was silent now. Outside Nostromo laughed. 

"I can hear die padrona is not dead." 

"You have done your best to kill me with fear," cried Signora 
Teresa. She wanted to say some tiling more, but her voice failed 
her. 

Linda raised her eyes to her face for a moment, but old 
Giorgio shouted apologetically: 

"She is a little upset." 

Outside Nostromo shouted back with anodier laugh: "She 
cannot upset me." 

Signora Teresa found her voice. 

"It is what I say. You have no heart— and you have no 
conscience, Gian' Battista— " 

They heard him wheel his horse away from die shutters. The 
party he led were babbling excitedly in Italian and Spanish, inciting 
one another to the pursuit. He put himself at dieir head, crying, 
"Avanti!" 

"He has not stopped very long with us. There is no praise from 
strangers to be got here," Signora Teresa said, tragically. "Avanti! 
Yes! That is all he cares for. To be first somewhere— somehow— to 
be first with these English. They will be showing him to everybody. 
'This is our Nostromo!' "She laughed ominously "What a name! 
What is diat? Nostromo? He would take a name diat is properly 
no word from diem." 

Meantime, Giorgio, with tranquil movements, had been 
unfastening die door; die flood of light fell on Signora Teresa, with 
her two girls gadiered to her side, a picturesque woman in a pose 
of maternal exaltation. Behind her die wall was dazzlingly white, 
and the crude colors of die Garibaldi lidiograph glowed in the 
sunshine. 

Old Viola, at die door, moved his arm upward as if referring 



Jill his quick, fleeting thoughts to the picture of his old chief on the 
wall. Even when he was cooking for the "Signori Inglesi"— the 
engineers (he was a famous cook, though the kitchen was a dark 
place), he was, as it were, under the eye of the great man who had 
led him in a glorious struggle where, under the walls of Gaeta, 
tyranny would have expired for ever had it not heen for that 
accursed Piedmontese race of kings and ministers. When 
sometimes a frying-pan caught fire during a delicate operation with 
some shredded onions, and tire old man was seen hacking out of 
tire doorway, swearing and coughing violently in an acrid cloud of 
smoke, the name of Cavour— tire arch intriguer, sold to kings and 
tyrants— could he heard involved in imprecations against the China 
girls, cooking in general, and tire hrute of a country where he was 
reduced to live for tire love of liherty that traitor had strangled. 

Then Signora Teresa, all in hlack, issuing fronr another door, 
advanced, portly and anxious, inclining her fine hlack-hrowed 
head, opening her arnrs and crying in a profound tone: 

"Giorgio! thou passionate man! Misericordia Divina! In the 
sun like this! He will make himself ill." At her feet tire hens nrade 
off in all directions, with immense strides; if there were airy 
engineers fronr up the line staying in Sulaco, a young English face 
or two would appear at the hilliard-room occupying one end of the 
house; but at the other end, in the cafe, Luis, the nrulatto, took 
good care not to show himself. The Indian girls, with hair like 
flowing black nranes, and dressed only in a shift and short 
petticoat, stared dully from under tire square -cut fringes on their 
foreheads; tire noisy frizzling of fat had stopped, tire fumes floated 
upw r ard in sunshine, a strong snrell of burned onions hung in tire 
drowsy heat, enveloping tire house; and the eye lost itself in a vast 
flat expanse of grass to the west, as if tire plain between tire Sierra 
overtopping Sulaco and the coast range away there towards 
Esnreralda had been as big as half the w r orld. 

Signora Teresa, after an impressive pause, remonstrated: 

"Eh, Giorgio! Leave Cavour alone and take care of yourself, 
now we are lost in this country all alone with two children, because 
you cannot live under a king 

And w r hile she looked at him she would sometimes put her 
hand hastily to her side with a short twitch of her fine lips and a 
knitting of her black, straight eyebrows like a flicker of angry pain 
or an angry drought on her handsome, regular features. 

It was pain; she suppressed tire twinge. It had come to her first 
a few years after they had left Italy to enrigrate to Anrerica and 
settle at last in Sulaco after wandering from town to town, trying 
shop-keeping in a snrall w r ay here and there: and once an 
organized enterprise of fishing— in Maldonado— for Giorgio, like 
tire great Garibaldi, had been a sailor in his time. 

Sometimes she had no patience with pain. For years its 



gnawing had been part of die landscape embracing die glitter of die 
harbor under die wooded spurs of die range; and die sunshine 
itself was heavy and dull— heavy widi pain— not like sunshine of her 
girlhood, in which middle-aged Giorgio had wooed her gravely and 
passionately on die shores of die gulf of Spezzia. 

"You go in at once, Giorgio," she directed. "One would diink 
you do not wish to have any pity on me— with four Signori Inglesi 
staying in die house." 

"Va bene, va bene," Giorgio would mutter. 

He obeyed. The Signori Inglesi would require dieir midday 
meal presendy. He had been one of die immortal and invincible 
band of liberators who had made die mercenaries of tyranny dy 
like chaff before a hurricane, "un uragano terribile." But diat was 
before he was married and had children; and before tyranny had 
reared its head again among die traitors who had imprisoned 
Garibaldi, his hero. 

There were diree doors in die front of die house, and each 
afternoon die Garibaldino could be seen at one or anodier of 
diem widi his big bush of white hair, his arms folded, his legs 
crossed, leaning back his leonine head against die lintel, and 
looking up die wooded slopes of die foot-hills at die snowy dome 
of Higuerota. The front of his house direw off a black long 
rectangle of shade, broadening slowly over the soft ox-cart track. 
Through die gaps, chopped out in die oleander hedges, die harbor 
branch railway, laid out temporarily on die level of die plain, 
curved away its shining parallel ribbons in a belt of scorched and 
widiered grass within sixty yards of die end of die house. In the 
evening the empty material trains of dat-cars circled round die 
dark-green grove of Sulaco, and ran, undulating slightly widi white 
jets of steam, over die plain towards the Casa Viola, on dieir way to 
die railway-yards by die harbor. The Italian drivers saluted him 
from die foot-plate widi raised hand, while die negro brakemen sat 
carelessly on die brakes, looking straight forward, widi the rims of 
dieir big hats dapping in die wind. In return Giorgio would give a 
slight sideways jerk of die head, widiout unfolding his arms. 

On diis memorable day of die riot his arms were not folded on 
his chest. His hand grasped die barrel of die gun grounded on die 
tiireshold; he did not look up once at die white dome of 
Higuerota, whose cool purity seemed to hold itself aloof from a 
hot eardi. His eyes examined die plain curiously. Tall trails of dust 
subsided here and diere. In a speckless sky the sun hung clear and 
blinding. Knots of men ran headlong; odiers made a stand; and die 
irregular rattie of fire-arms came rippling to his ears in die fiery, 
still air. Single figures on foot raced desperately. Horsemen 
galloped towards each other, wheeled round together, separated at 
speed. Giorgio saw one fall, rider and horse disappearing as if diey 
had galloped into a chasm, and die movements of die animated 



scene were like the peripeties of a violent game played upon the 
plain by dwarfs mounted and on foot, yelling with tiny throats, 
under the mountain that seemed a colossal embodiment of 
silence. Never before had Giorgio seen this bit of plain so full of 
active life; his gaze could not take in all its details at once; he 
shaded his eyes with his hand, till suddenly the thundering of many 
hoofs near by startled him. 

A troop of horses had broken out of the fenced paddock of 
the railway company. They came on like a whirlwind, and dashed 
over the line, snorting, kicking, squealing in a compact piebald 
tossing mob of bay, brown, gray backs, eyes staring, necks 
extended, nostrils red, long tails streaming. As soon as they had 
leaped upon tire road the thick dust flew upward at once fronr 
under their hoofs, and within six yards of Giorgio only a brown 
cloud with vague forms of necks and cruppers rolled by, making 
the soil tremble on its passage. 

Viola coughed, turning his face away fronr tire dust and shaking 
his head slightly. 

"There will be sonre horse-catching to be done before tonight," 
he nruttered. 

In the square of sunlight falling through tire door Signora 
Teresa, kneeling before the chair, had bowed her head, heavy with 
a twisted nrass of ebony hair streaked with silver, into tire palm of 
her hands. The black lace shawl she used to drape about her face 
had dropped to tire ground by her side. The two girls had got up, 
hand-in-hand, in short skirts, their loose hair falling in disorder. 
The younger had thrown her arnr across her eyes, as if afraid to 
face tire light. Linda, with her hand on tire other's shoulder, stared 
fearlessly. Viola looked at his children. 

The sun brought out the deep lines on his face, and, energetic 
in expression, it had tire immobility of a carving. It was impossible 
to discover what he drought. Bushy gray eyebrows shaded his dark 
glance. 

"Well! And do you not pray like your mother?" 

Linda pouted, advancing her red lips, which were almost too 
red; but she had adnrirable eyes, brown, with a sparkle of gold in 
the irises, full of intelligence and meaning, and so clear that they 
seenred to throw a glow upon her thin, colorless face. There were 
bronze glints in the sombre clusters of her hair, and tire eyelashes, 
long and coal black, nrade her complexion appear still nrore pale. 

"Mother is going to offer up a lot of candles in the church. She 
always does when Nostromo has been away lighting. I shall have 
some to carry up to tire chapel of tire Madonna in tire cathedral." 

She said all this quickly, with great assurance, in an animated, 
penetrating voice. Then, giving her sister's shoulder a slight shake, 
she added: 

"And she will be nrade to carry one, too! * 



"Why made?" inquired Giorgio, gravely. "Does she not want 
to?" 

"She is timid," said Linda, with a little hurst of laughter. 
"People notice her fair hair as she goes along with us. They call out 
after her, 'Look at the Ruhia! Look at the Ruhiacita!' They call out 
in the streets. She is timid." 

"And you? You are not timid— eh?" the father pronounced, 
slowly. 

She tossed hack all her dark hair. 

"Nohody calls out after me." 

Old Giorgio contemplated his children thoughtfully. There 
was two years difference hetween them. They had heen born to 
him late, years after the boy had died. Had he lived he would have 
been nearly as old as Gian' Battista— he whom the English called 
Nostromo; but as to his daughters, the severity of his temper, his 
advancing age, his absorption in his memories, had prevented his 
taking much notice of them. He loved his children, but girls 
belong to the mother more, and much of his affection had been 
expended in the worship and service of liberty. 

When quite a youth he had deserted from a ship trading to La 
Plata to enlist in the navy of Montevideo, then under the 
command of Garibaldi. Afterwards, in the Italian legion of the 
republic, struggling against the encroaching tyranny of Rosas, he 
had taken part, on great plains, on the banks of immense rivers, in 
the fiercest fighting perhaps the world had ever known. He had 
lived among men who had declaimed about liberty, suffered for 
liberty, died for liberty, with a desperate exaltation, and with their 
eyes turned towards an oppressed Italy. His own enthusiasm had 
been fed on scenes of carnage, on the examples of lofty devotion, 
on the din of armed struggle, on the inflamed language of 
proclamations. He had never parted from the chief of his choice— 
the fiery apostle of independence— keeping by his side in America 
and in Italy till after the fatal day of Aspromonte, when the 
treachery of kings, emperors, and ministers had been revealed to 
the world in the wound and imprisonment of his hero— a 
catastrophe that had instilled into him a gloomy doubt of ever 
being able to understand the ways of Divine justice. 

He did not deny it, however. It required patience, he would 
say. Though he disliked priests, and would not put his foot inside a 
church for anything, he believed in God. Were not the 
proclamations against tyrants addressed to the peoples in the name 
of God and liberty? "God for men— religions for women," he 
muttered sometimes. In Sicily, an Englishman who had turned up 
in Palermo after its evacuation by the army of the king, had given 
him a Bible in Italian— the publication of the British and Foreign 
Bible Society, bound in a dark leather cover. In periods of political 
adversity, in the pauses of silence when the revolutionists issued no 



proclamations, Giorgio earned his living with the first work that 
came to hand— as sailor, as dock lahorer on the quays of Genoa, 
once as a hand on a farm in the hills above Spezzia— and in his 
spare time he studied the thick volume. He carried it with him into 
battles. Now it was his only reading, and in order not to be 
deprived of it (the print was small) he had consented to accept the 
present of a pair of silver-mounted spectacles from Sehora Emilia 
Gould, the wife of the Englishman who managed the silver mine in 
the mountains three leagues from the town. She was the only 
Englishwoman in Sulaco. 

Giorgio Viola had a great consideration for the English. This 
feeling, born on the battlefields of Uruguay, was forty years old at 
the very least. Several of them had poured their blood for the 
cause of freedom in America, and the first he had ever known he 
remembered by the name of Samuel; he commanded a negro 
company under Garibaldi, during the famous siege of the 
Montevideo, and died heroically with his negroes at the fording of 
the Boyana. He, Giorgio, had reached the rank of ensign— alferez— 
and cooked for the general. Later on, in Italy, he, with the rank of 
lieutenant, rode with the staff and still cooked for the general. He 
had cooked for him in Lombardy through the whole campaign; on 
the march to Rome he had lassoed his beef in the Campagna after 
the American manner; he had been wounded in the defence of the 
Roman Republic; he was one of the four fugitives who, with the 
general, carried out of the woods the inanimate body of the 
general's wife into the farmhouse where she died, exhausted by the 
hardships of that terrible retreat. He had survived that disastrous 
time to attend his general in Palermo when the Neapolitan shells 
from the castle crashed upon the town. He had cooked for him on 
the field of Volturno after fighting all day. And everywhere he had 
seen Englishmen in the front rank of the army of freedom. He 
respected their nation because they loved Garibaldi. Their very 
countesses and princesses had kissed the general's hands in 
London, it was said. He could well believe it; for the nation was 
noble, and the man was a saint. It was enough to look once at his 
face to see the divine force of faith in him and his great pity for all 
that was poor, suffering, and oppressed in this world. 

The spirit of self-forgetfulness, the simple devotion to a vast 
humanitarian idea which inspired the thought and stress of that 
revolutionary time, had left its mark upon Giorgio in a sort of 
austere contempt for all personal advantage. This man, whom the 
lowest class in Sulaco suspected of having a buried hoard in his 
kitchen, had all his life despised money. The leaders of his youth 
had lived poor, had died poor. It had been a habit of his mind to 
disregard tomorrow. It was engendered partly by an existence of 
excitement, adventure, and wild warfare. But mostly it was a matter 
of principle. It did not resemble the carelessness of a condottiere, 



it was a puritanism of conduct born of stern enthusiasm, like the 
puritanism of religion. 

This stern devotion to a cause had cast a gloom upon Giorgio's 
old age. It cast a gloom because the cause seemed lost. Too many 
kings and emperors nourished yet in die world which God had 
meant for the people. He was sad because of his simplicity. 
Though always ready to help his countrymen, and gready 
respected by die Italian emigrants wherever he lived (in his exile 
he called it), he could not conceal from himself diat diey cared 
nothing for die wrongs of down-trodden nations. They listened to 
his tales of war readily, but seemed to ask themselves what he had 
got out of it after all. There was nothing that they could see. "We 
wanted nothing, we suffered for die love of all humanity!" he cried 
out furiously sometimes, and die powerful voice, die blazing eyes, 
die shaking of the white mane, die brown, sinewy hand pointing 
upward as if to call Heaven to witness, impressed his hearers. After 
die old man had broken off abruptly with a jerk of die head and a 
movement of die arm, meaning clearly, "But what's die good of 
talking to you?" they nudged each other. There was in old Giorgio 
an energy of feeling, a personal quality of conviction, something 
they called "terribilita." "An old lion," they used to say of him. 
Some slight incident, a chance word, would set him off talking on 
die beach to die Italian fishermen of Maldonado, in die little shop 
he kept afterwards (in Valparaiso), to his countrymen customers; 
of an evening, suddenly, in die cafe at one end of die Casa Viola 
(the other was reserved for die English engineers); to die select 
clientele of engine-drivers and foremen of die railway shops. 

With their handsome, bronzed, lean faces, shiny black ringlets, 
glistening eyes, broad-chested, bearded, sometimes a tiny gold ring 
in die lobe of die ear, die aristocracy of die railway-works listened 
to him, turning away from their cards or dominos. Here and there 
a fair-haired Basque studied his hand meantime, waiting without 
protest. No native of Costaguana intruded there. This was the 
Italian stronghold. Even the Sulaco policemen on a night patrol let 
their horses pace softly by, bending low in die saddle to glance 
through the window at die heads in a fog of smoke; and die drone 
of old Giorgio's declamatory narrative seemed to sink behind 
them into die plain. Only now and then die assistant of die chief of 
police, some broad-faced, brown little gentleman, with a great deal 
of Indian in him, would put in an appearance. Leaving his man 
outside with the horses, he advanced with a confident, sly smile 
and without a word up to the long trestle -table. He pointed to one 
of die bottles on the shelf; Giorgio, thrusting his pipe into his 
mouth abruptly, served him in person. Nothing would be heard 
but die slight jingle of the spurs. His glass emptied, he would take a 
leisurely, scrutinizing look all round die room, go out, and ride 
away slowly, circling towards die town. 



V 



IN this way only was die power of die local audiorities vindicated 
among die great body of strong-limbed foreigners who dug die 
eardi, blasted die rocks, drove die engines for die "progressive and 
patriotic undertaking." In diese very words eighteen months before 
the Excellentissimo Sehor don Vincente Ribiera, the dictator of 
Costaguana, had described die National Central Railway in his 
great speech at die turning of die first sod. 

He had come on purpose to Sulaco, and diere was a one- 
o'clock dinner-party, a convite offered by die O.S.N. Company on 
board die Juno after die function on shore. Captain Mitchell had 
himself steered die cargo lighter, all draped widi flags, which, in 
tow of die Juno?, steam-launch, took die Excellentissimo from die 
jetty to the ship. Everybody of note in Sulaco had been invited— die 
one or two foreign merchants, all die representatives of die old 
Spanish families dien in town, die great owners of estates on the 
plain, grave, courteous, simple men, caballeros of pure descent, 
widi small hands and feet, conservative, hospitable, and kind. The 
Occidental province was dieir stronghold; dieir Blanco party had 
triumphed now; it was dieir President-Dictator, a Blanco of die 
Blancos, who sat smiling urbanely between die representatives of 
two friendly foreign powers. They had come widi him from Sta. 
Marta to countenance by dieir presence the enterprise in which 
die capital of dieir countries was engaged. 

The only lady of diat company was Mrs. Gould, the wife of 
Don Carlos, die administrator of die San Tome silver-mine. The 
ladies of Sulaco were not advanced enough to take part in public 
life to diat extent. They had come out strongly at die great ball at 
the Intendencia die evening before, but Mrs. Gould alone had 
appeared, a bright spot in die group of black coats behind die 
President-Dictator, on die crimson cloth-covered stage erected 
under a shady tree on die shore of die harbor, where die 
ceremony of turning die first sod had taken place. She had come 
off in die cargo lighter, full of notabilities, sitting under die flutter 
of gay flags, in die place of honor by die side of Captain Mitchell, 
who steered, and her clear dress gave die only truly festive note to 
die sombre gadiering in die long, gorgeous saloon of die Juno. 

The head of die chairman of die railway board (from London), 
handsome and pale in a silvery mist of white hair and clipped 
beard, hovered near her shoulder, attentive, smiling and fatigued. 
The journey from London to Sta. Marta in mail-boats and die 
special carriages of die Sta. Marta coast-line (die only railway 
existing so far) had been tolerable— even pleasant— quite tolerable. 
But die trip over the mountains to Sulaco was anodier sort of 
experience, in an old diligencia over impassable roads skirting 
awful precipices. 



"We have been upset twice in one day on die brink of very 
deep ravines," he was telling Mrs. Gould in an undertone. "And 
when we arrived here at last I don't know what we should have 
done widiout your hospitality. What an out-of-die-way place 
Sulaco is!— and for a harbor, too! Astonishing!" 

"All, but we are very proud of it. It used to be historically 
important. The highest ecclesiastical court for two viceroyalties sat 
here in die olden time," she instructed him with animation. 

"I am impressed. I didn't mean to be disparaging. You seem 
very patriotic.'" 

"The place is lovable, if only by its situation. Perhaps you don't 
know what an old resident I am." 

"How old, I wonder," he murmured, looking at her with a 
slight smile. Mrs. Gould's appearance was made youthful by die 
mobile intelligence of her face. "We can't give you your 
ecclesiastical court back again; but you shall have more steamers, a 
railway, a telegraph-cable— a future in die great world which is 
worth infinitely more than any amount of ecclesiastical past. You 
shall be brought in touch with something greater than two 
viceroyalties. But I had no notion that a place on a sea-coast could 
remain so isolated from die world. If it had been a thousand miles 
inland now— most remarkable! Has anything ever happened here 
for a hundred years before today?" 

While he talked in a slow, humorous tone, she kept her little 
smile. Abounding ironically in his sense, she assured him that 
certainly not— nothing ever happened in Sulaco. Even the 
revolutions, of which there had been two in her time, had 
respected die repose of die place. Their course ran in the more 
populous southern parts of the republic, and in die great valley of 
Sta. Marta, which was like one great battlefield of die parties, with 
the possession of die capital for a prize and an outlet to another 
ocean. They were more advanced over there. Here in Sulaco they 
heard only the echoes of these great questions, and, of course, 
their official world changed each time, coming to them over their 
rampart of mountains which he himself had traversed in an old 
diligencia, with such a risk to life and limb. 

The chairman of die railway had been enjoying her hospitality 
for several days, and he was really grateful for it. It was only since 
he had left Sta. Marta that he had utterly lost touch with die feeling 
of European life in the background of his exotic surroundings. In 
die capital he had been die guest of die legation, and had been 
kept busy negotiating with die members of Don Vincente's 
government— cultured men, men to whom die conditions of 
civilized business were not unknown. 

What concerned him most at the time was the acquisition of 
land for die railway. In die Sta. Marta Valley, where there was 
already one line in existence, die people were tractable, and it was 



only a matter of price. A commission had been nominated to fix 
die values, and die difficulty resolved itself into die judicious 
influencing of die commissioners. But in Sulaco— die Occidental 
province for whose very development die railway was intended— 
diere had been trouble. It had been tying for ages ensconced 
behind its natural barriers, repelling modern enterprise by die 
precipices of its mountain range, by its shallow harbor opening 
into the everlasting calms of a gulf full of clouds, by die benighted 
state of mind of die owners of its fertile territory— all diese 
aristocratic old Spanish families, all diose Don Ambrosios diis and 
Don Fernandos diat, who seemed actually to dislike and distrust 
die coming of die railway over dieir lands. It had happened diat 
some of die surveying parties scattered all over die province had 
been warned off with direats of violence. In odier cases outrageous 
pretensions as to price had been raised. But die man of railways 
prided himself on being equal to every emergency. Since he was 
met by die inimical sentiment of blind conservatism in Sulaco he 
would meet it by sentiment, too, before taking his stand on his 
right alone. The government was bound to carry out its part, of die 
contract with die board of die new railway company, even if it had 
to use force for die purpose. But he desired nodiing less dian an 
armed disturbance in die smoodi working of his plans. They were 
much too vast and far-reaching and too promising to leave a stone 
unturned; and so he imagined to get die President-Dictator over 
diere on a tour of ceremonies and speeches, culminating in a great 
function at die turning of die first sod by die harbor shore. After all 
he was dieir own creature— diat Don Vincente. He was die 
embodied triumph of die best elements in die state. These were 
facts, and, unless facts meant nodiing, Sir John argued to himself, 
such a man's influence must be real, and his personal action would 
produce die conciliatory effect he required. He had succeeded in 
arranging die trip with die help of a very clever advocate, who was 
known in Sta. Marta as die agent of die Gould silver-mine, die 
biggest tiling in Sulaco, and even in die whole republic. It was 
indeed a fabulously rich mine. Its so-called agent, evidendy a man 
of culture and ability, seemed, witiiout official position, to possess 
an extraordinary influence in die highest government spheres. He 
was able to assure Sir John diat die President-Dictator would make 
the journey. He regretted, however, in die course of die same 
conversation, diat General Montero insisted upon going too. 

General Montero, whom the beginning of die struggle had 
found an obscure army captain employed on die wild eastern 
frontier of die state, had dirown in his lot with die Ribiera party at 
a moment when special circumstances had given diat small 
adhesion a fortuitous importance. The fortunes of war served him 
marvelously, and the victory of Rio Seco (after a day of desperate 
fighting) put a seal to his success. At die end he emerged General, 



Minister of War, and tire military head of the Blanco party, 
although there was nothing aristocratic in his descent. Indeed, it 
was said that he and his brother, orphans, had been brought up by 
the munificence of a famous European traveler, in whose service 
their father had lost his life. Another story was that their father had 
been nothing but a charcoal-burner in tire woods, and their mother 
a baptized Indian wonran from tire far interior. 

However that might be, the Costaguana press was in tire habit 
of styling Montero's forest march from his conrandancia to join tire 
Blanco forces at tire beginning of tire troubles tire "most heroic 
military exploit of modern times." About tire same time, too, his 
brother had turned up from Europe, where he had gone 
apparently as secretary to a consul. Having, however, collected a 
snrall band of outlaws, he showed some talent as guerilla chief, and 
had been rewarded at tire pacification by tire post of military 
commandant, of the capital. 

The Minister of War, then, accompanied tire dictator. The 
board of tire O.S.N. Company, working hand-in-hand with the 
railway people for tire good of the republic, had on this important 
occasion instructed Captain Mitchell to put tire mail-boat Juno at 
the disposal of tire distinguished party. Don Vincente, journeying 
south fronr Sta. Marta, had enrbarked at Cayta, tire principal port 
of Costaguana, and came to Sulaco by sea. But tire chairman of the 
railway company had courageously crossed tire mountains in a 
ramshackle diligencia, mainly for tire purpose of meeting his 
engineer-in-chief engaged in tire final survey of tire road. 

For all tire indifference of a man of affairs to nature, whose 
hostility can be always overcome by tire resources of finance, he 
could not help being inrpressed by his surroundings during his halt 
at tire surveying camp established at tire highest point his railway 
was to reach. He spent tire night there, arriving just too late to see 
tire last dying glow of sunlight upon tire snowy flank of Higuerota. 
Pillared nrasses of black basalt framed like an open portal a 
portion of tire white field lying aslant against the west. In the 
transparent air of tire high altitudes everything seenred very near, 
steeped in a clear stillness as in an inrponderable liquid; and with 
his ear ready to catch tire first sound of tire expected diligencia tire 
engineer-in-chief, at tire door of a hut of rough stones, had 
contemplated tire changing hues on tire enornrous side of tire 
mountain, thinking that in this sight, as in a piece of inspired 
nrusic, there could be found together tire utmost delicacy of 
shaded expression and a stupendous magnificence of effect. 

Sir John arrived too late to hear tire magnificent and inaudible 
strain sung by the sunset among tire high peaks of tire Sierra. It had 
sung itself out into tire breathless pause of deep dusk before, 
climbing down tire fore-wheel of tire diligencia with stiff linrbs, he 
shook hands with tire engineer. 



They gave him his dinner in a stone hut like a cuhical houlder, 
with no door or windows in its two openings; a hright fire of sticks 
(hrought on mule -hack from the first valley helow) hurning 
outside, sent in a wavering glare; and two candles in tin 
candlesticks— lighted, it was explained to him, in his honor— stood 
on a sort of rough camp-tahle at which he sat on the right hand of 
the chief. He knew how to he amiahle; and the young men of the 
engineering staff, for whom the surveying of the railway-track had 
the glamour of the first steps on the path of life, sat there too, 
listening modestly, with their smooth faces tanned by the weather, 
and very pleased to witness so much affability in so great a man. 

Afterwards, late at night, pacing to and fro outside, he had a 
long talk with his chief engineer. He knew him well of old. This 
was not the first undertaking in which their gifts, as elementally 
different as fire and water, had worked in conjunction. From the 
contact of these two personalities, who had not the same vision of 
the world, there was generated a power for the world's sendee; a 
subtle force that could set in motion mighty machines, men's 
muscles, and awaken also in human breasts an unbounded 
devotion to the task. Of the young fellows at the table, to whom 
the survey of the track was like the tracing of the path of life, more 
than one would be called to meet death before the work was done. 
But the work would bee done: the force would be almost as strong 
as a faith. Not quite, however. In the silence of the sleeping camp 
upon the moonlit plateau forming the top of the pass like the floor 
of a vast arena surrounded by the basalt walls of precipices, two 
strolling figures in thick ulsters stood still, and tire voice of the 
engineer pronounced distinctly tire words— 

"We can't move mountains!" 

Sir John, raising his head to follow tire pointing gesture, felt the 
full force of tire words. The white Higuerota soared out of the 
shadows of rock and earth like a frozen bubble under the moon. 
All was still, till near by, behind the wall of a corral for the camp 
animals, built roughly of loose stones in tire form of a circle, a 
pack-nrule stamped his forefoot and blew heavily twice. 

The engineer-in-chief had used tire phrase in answer to the 
chairman's tentative suggestion that the tracing of tire line could, 
perhaps, be altered in deference to tire prejudices of tire Sulaco 
land-owners. The chief engineer believed that tire obstinacy of 
men was the lesser obstacle. Moreover, to combat that they had 
tire great influence of Charles Gould, whereas tunneling under 
Higuerota would have been a colossal undertaking. 

"Air, yes! Gould. What sort of a man is he?" 

Sir John had heard much of Charles Gould in Sta. Marta, and 
wanted to know nrore. The engineer-in-chief assured him that tire 
administrator of the San Tome silver-mine had air immense 
influence over all these Spanish Dons. He had also one of tire best 



houses in Sulaco, and die Goulds' hospitality was beyond all 
praise. 

"They received me as if they had known me for years," he 
said. "The little lady is kindness personified. I stayed widi diem for 
a month. He helped me to organize die surveying parties. His 
practical ownership of die San Tome silver-mine gives him a 
special position. He seems to have the ear of every provincial 
authority apparently, and, as I said, he can wind all die hidalgos of 
the province round his little finger. If you follow his advice the 
difficulties will fall away, because he wants die railway. Of course, 
you must be careful in what you say. He's English, and, besides, he 
must be immensely wealthy. The Holroyd house is in widi him in 
diat mine, so you may imagine—" 

He interrupted himself as, from before one of die littie fires 
burning outside the low wall of die corral, arose die figure of a 
man wrapped in a poncho up to die neck. The saddle which he 
had been using for a pillow made a dark patch on die ground 
against die red glow of embers. 

"I shall see Holroyd himself on my way back dirough the 
States," said Sir John. "I've ascertained diat he, too, wants the 
railway." 

The man who, perhaps disturbed by die proximity of die 
voices, had arisen from die ground, struck a match to light a 
cigarette. The flame showed a bronzed, black-whiskered face, a 
pair of eyes gazing straight; dien, rearranging his wrappings, he 
sank full lengdi and laid his head again on die saddle. 

"That's our camp-master, whom I must send back to Sulaco 
now we are going to carry our survey into die Sta. Marta Valley," 
said die engineer. "A most useful fellow, lent me by Captain 
Mitchell of the O.S.N. Company. It was very good of Mitchell. 
Charles Gould told me I couldn't do better dian take advantage of 
die offer. He seems to know how to rule all diese muleteers and 
peons. We had not the slightest trouble with our people. He shall 
escort your diligencia right into Sulaco widi some of our railway 
peons. The road is bad. To have him at hand may save you an 
upset or two. He promised me to take care of your person all die 
way down as if you were his fadier." 

This camp master was die Italian sailor whom all die 
Europeans in Sulaco, following Captain Mitchell's 
mispronunciation, were in die habit of calling Nostromo. And 
indeed, taciturn and ready, he did take excellent care of his charge 
at die bad parts of die road, as Sir John himself acknowledged to 
Mrs. Gould afterwards. 



VI 



AT that time Nostromo had heen already long enough in the 
country to raise to die highest pitch Captain Mitchell's opinion of 
die extraordinary value of his discovery. Clearly he was one of 
diose invaluable subordinates whom to possess is a legitimate 
cause of boasting. Captain Mitchell plumed himself upon his eye 
for men— but he was not selfish— and in die innocence of his pride 
was already developing diat mania for "lending you my capataz de 
cargadores" which was to bring Nostromo into personal contact, 
sooner or later, with every European in Sulaco, as a sort of 
universal factotum— a prodigy of efficiency in his own sphere of 
life. 

"The fellow is devoted to me, body and soul!" Captain 
Mitchell was given to affirm; and diough nobody, perhaps, could 
have explained why it should be so, it was impossible on a survey 
of dieir relation to dirow doubt on diat statement, unless, indeed, 
one were a bitter, eccentric character like Dr. Monygham— for 
instance— whose short, hopeless laugh expressed somehow an 
immense mistrust of mankind. Not diat Dr. Monygham was a 
prodigal eidier of laughter or of words. He was bitterly taciturn 
when at his best. At his worst people feared die open scornfulness 
of his tongue. Only Mrs. Gould could keep his unbelief in men's 
motives within due bounds; but even to her (on an occasion not 
connected with Nostromo, and in a tone which for him was 
gentie), even to her, he had said once, "Really, it is most 
unreasonable to demand diat a man should diink of odier people 
so much better dian he is able to diink of himself." 

Aid Mrs. Gould had hastened to drop die subject. There were 
strange rumors of die English doctor. Years ago, in the time of 
Guzman Bento, he had been mixed up, it was whispered, in a 
conspiracy which was betrayed, and, as people expressed it, 
drowned in blood. His hair had turned gray, his hairless, seamed 
face was of a brick dust color; die large check pattern of his flannel 
shirt and his old stained Panama hat were an established defiance 
to die conventionalities of Sulaco. Had it not been for die 
immaculate cleanliness of his apparel he might have been taken 
for one of diose shiftless Europeans diat are a moral eyesore to die 
respectability of a foreign colony in almost every exotic part in the 
world. The young ladies of Sulaco, adorning with clusters of pretty 
faces die balconies along die Street of the Constitution, when they 
saw him pass, with his limping gait and bowed head, a short linen 
jacket drawn on carelessly over die flannel check shirt, would 
remark to each odier, "Here is die sefior doctor going to call on 
Dona Emilia He has got his little coat on." The inference was true. 
Its deeper meaning was hidden from dieir simple intelligence. 
Moreover, they expended no store of diought on die doctor. He 



was old, ugly, learned— and a litde "loco"— mad, if not a bit of a 
sorcerer, as die common people suspected him of being. The little 
white jacket was in reality a concession to Mrs. Gould's 
humanizing influence. The doctor, widi his habit of skeptical, 
bitter speech, had no odier means of showing his profound respect 
for die character of die woman who was known in die country as 
die English seiiora. He presented diis tribute very seriously indeed; 
it was no trifle for a man of his habits. Mrs. Gould felt diat, too, 
perfectiy. She would never have diought of imposing upon him 
diis marked show of deference. 

She kept her old Spanish house (one of die finest specimens in 
Sulaco) open for die dispensation of die small graces of existence. 
She dispensed diem widi simplicity and charm because she was 
guided by an alert perception of values. She was highly gifted in die 
art of human intercourse, which consists in delicate shades of self- 
forgetfulness and in die suggestion of universal comprehension. 
Charles Gould (die Gould family, established in Costaguana for 
diree generations, always went to England for dieir education and 
for dieir wives) imagined tiiat he had fallen in love widi a girl's 
sound common-sense like any odier man, but diese were not 
exactiy die reasons why, for instance, die whole surveying camp, 
from die youngest of die young men to dieir mature chief, should 
have found occasion to allude to Mrs. Gould's house so frequendy 
among die high peaks of die Sierra. She would have protested diat 
she had done nodiing for diem, widi a low laugh and a surprised 
widening of her gray eyes, had anybody told her how convincingly 
she was remembered on die edge of die snowline above Sulaco. 
But directly, widi a litde capable air of setting her wits to work, she 
would have found an explanation. "Of course, it was such a 
surprise for diese boys to find any sort of welcome here. And I 
suppose diey are home-sick. I suppose everybody must be always 
just a litde home-sick." 

She was always sorry for home-sick people. 

Born in die country, as his father before him, spare and tall, 
widi a flaming mustache, a neat chin, clear blue eyes, auburn hair, 
and a diin, fresh, red face, Charles Gould looked like a new arrival 
from over the sea. His grandfadier had fought in die cause of 
independence under Bolivar, in diat famous English legion which 
on die battie -field of Carabobo had been saluted by die great 
Liberator as saviors of his country. One of Charles Gould's uncles 
had been die elected President of diat very province of Sulaco 
(dien called a state) in die days of Federation, and afterwards had 
been put up against the wall of a church and shot by die order of 
the barbarous Unionist general, Guzman Bento. It w r as die same 
Guzman Bento who, becoming later on Perpetual President, 
famed for his ruthless and cruel tyranny, reached his apodieosis in 
the popular legend of a sanguinary land-haunting spectre whose 



body had been carried off by die devil in person from die brick 
mausoleum in die nave of die Church of Assumption in Sta. 
Marta. Thus, at least, die priests explained its disappearance to die 
barefooted multitude diat streamed in, awe-struck, to gaze at die 
hole in die side of die ugly box of bricks before die great altar. 

Guzman Bento, of cruel memory, had put to deadi great 
numbers of people besides Charles Gould's uncle; but with a 
relative martyred in die cause of aristocracy, die Sulaco oligarchs 
(tiiis was die phraseology of Guzman Bento 's time; now diey were 
called Blancos, and had given up the federal idea), which meant 
the families of pure Spanish descent, considered Charles as one of 
diemselves. Widi such a family record, no one could be more of a 
Costaguanero dian Don Carlos Gould; but his aspect was so 
characteristic diat in die talk of common people he was just die 
Inglez— die Englishman of Sulaco. He looked more English than a 
casual tourist, a sort of heretic pilgrim, however, quite unknown in 
Sulaco. He looked more English dian die last-arrived batch of 
young railway-engineers, dian anybody out of die hunting-field 
pictures in die numbers of Punch reaching his wife's drawing-room 
two months or so after date. It astonished you to hear him talk 
Spanish (Castilian, as die natives say) or die Indian dialect of die 
country-people so naturally. His accent had never been English; 
but diere was something so indelible in all diese ancestral Goulds- 
liberators, explorers, coffee-planters, merchants, revolutionists— of 
Costaguana, diat he, die only representative of die diird generation 
in a continent possessing its own style of horsemanship, went on 
looking dioroughly English even on horseback. This is not said of 
him in die mocking spirit of the Llaneros— men of die great 
plains— who diink diat no one in die world knows how to sit a 
horse but diemselves. Don Carlos Gould, to use die suitably lofty 
phrase, rode like a centaur. Riding for him was not a special form 
of exercise; it was a natural faculty, as walking straight is to all men 
sound of mind and limb; but, all die same, when cantering beside 
the rutty ox-cart track to die mine he looked in his English clothes 
and widi his imported saddlery as diough he had come this 
moment to Costaguana at his easy swift pasotrote, straight out of 
some green meadow at die odier side of die world. 

His way would lie along the old Spanish road— die Camino 
Real of popular speech— die only remaining vestige of a fact and 
name left by diat royalty old Giorgio Viola hated, and whose very 
shadow had departed from die land; for die big equestrian statue 
of Charles IV. at die entrance to die Alameda, towering white 
against die trees, was only known to die folk from die country and 
to the beggars of die town diat slept on die steps around die 
pedestal as die Horse of Stone. The other Carlos, turning off to 
the left widi a rapid clatter of hoofs on the disjointed pavement- 
Don Carlos Gould in his English clodies, looked as incongruous, 



but much more at home, than die kingly cavalier reining in his 
steed on die pedestal above die sleeping leperos, widi his marble 
arm raised towards die heavy rim of a plumed hat. 

The weadier-stained effigy of die mounted king, with its vague 
suggestion of a saluting gesture, seemed to present an inscrutable 
breast to die political changes which had robbed it of its very 
name; but neidier did the other horseman, well known to the 
people, keen and alive on his well shaped, slate -colored beast with 
a white eye, wear his heart on the sleeve of his English coat. His 
mind preserved its steady poise as if sheltered in die passionless 
stability of private and public decencies at home in Europe. He 
accepted with a like calm die shocking manner in which die Sulaco 
ladies smodiered dieir faces with pearl powder till diey looked like 
white plaster casts with beautiful living eyes, die peculiar gossip of 
the town, and die continuous political changes, die constant saving 
of die country, which to his wife seemed a puerile and blood- 
diirsty game of murder and rapine played with it terrible 
earnestness by depraved children. In die early days of her 
Costaguana life, die littie lady used to clinch her hands with 
exasperation at not being able to take die public affairs of die 
country as seriously as die incidental atrocity of mediods deserved. 
She saw in diem a comedy of naive pretences, but hardly anything 
genuine except her own appalled indignation. Charles, very quiet 
and twisting his long mustaches, would decline to discuss diem at 
all. Once, however, he observed to her very gendy: 

"My dear, you seem to forget diat I was born here." 

These few words made her pause as if diey had been a sudden 
revelation. Perhaps die mere fact of being born in die country did 
make a difference. She had a great confidence in her husband; it 
had always been very great. He had struck her imagination from 
die first by his unsentimentalism, by that very quietude of mind 
which she had erected in her diought for a sign of perfect 
competency in die business of living. Don Jose Avellanos, dieir 
neighbor across die street, a statesman, a poet, a man of culture, 
who had represented his country at several European courts (and 
had suffered untold indignities as a state prisoner in die time of the 
tyrant Guzman Bento), used to declare in Dona Emilia's drawing 
room diat Carlos had all die English qualities of character widi a 
truly patriotic heart. 

Mrs. Gould, raising her eyes to her husband's thin, red-and-tan 
face, could not detect die slightest quiver of a feature at what he 
must have heard said of his patriotism. Perhaps he had just 
dismounted on his return from die mine; he was English enough 
to disregard die hottest hours of die day. Basilio, in a livery of 
white linen and a red sash, had squatted for a moment behind his 
heels to unstrap die heavy, blunt spurs in the patio; and dien die 
Senor Administrador Would go up the staircase into die gallery. 



Rows of plants in pots, ranged on die balustrade between the 
pilasters of the arches, screened the corredor with dieir leaves and 
flowers from die quadrangle below, whose paved space is die true 
hearthstone of a Soudi American house, where die quiet hours of 
domestic life are marked by die shifting of light and shadow on die 
flagstones. 

Sefior Avellanos was in die habit of crossing die patio at five 
o'clock almost every day. Don Jose chose to come over at tea-time 
because die English rite at Dona Emilia's house reminded him of 
the time when he lived in London as Minister Plenipotentiary to 
the Court of St. James. He did not like tea; and, usually, rocking 
his American chair, his neat little shiny boots crossed on die foot- 
rest, he would talk on and on with a sort of complacent virtuosity 
wonderful in a man of his age, while he held die cup in his hands 
for a long time. His close-cropped head was perfectiy white; his 
eyes coal-black. 

On seeing Charles Gould step into the sala he would nod 
provisionally and go on to die end of die oratorial period. Only 
then he would say: 

"Carlos, my friend, you have ridden from San Tome in the 
heat of die day. Always die true English activity. No? What?" 

He drank up all die tea at once in one draught. This 
performance was invariably followed by a slight shudder and a low, 
involuntary "br-r-r-r," which was not covered by die hasty 
exclamation, "Excellent!" Then giving up die empty cup into his 
young friend's hand, extended with a smile, he continued to 
expatiate upon die patriotic nature of die San Tome mine for die 
simple pleasure of talking fluently, it seemed, while his reclining 
body jerked backward and forward in a rocking-chair of die sort 
exported from die United States. The ceiling of die largest 
drawing-room of die Casa Gould extended its white level far 
above his head. The loftiness dwarfed die mixture of heavy, 
straight-backed Spanish chairs of brown wood with leadiern seats, 
and European furniture, low, and cushioned all over, like squat 
little monsters gorged to bursting with steel springs and horse-hair. 
There were knick-knacks on little tables, mirrors let into die wall 
above marble consoles, square spaces of carpet under die two 
groups of arm-chairs, each presided over by a deep sofa; smaller 
rugs scattered all over die floor of red tiles; diree windows from 
ceiling down to die ground, opening on a balcony, and flanked by 
die perpendicular folds of die dark hangings. The stateliness of 
ancient days lingered between die four high, smoodi walls, tinted a 
delicate primrose-color; and Mrs. Gould, with her litde head and 
shining coils of hair, sitting in a cloud of muslin and lace before a 
slender mahogany table, resembled a fairy posed lighdy before 
dainty philters dispensed out of vessels of silver and porcelain. 

Mrs. Gould knew die history of die San Tome mine. Worked 



in die early days mosdy by means of lashes on die backs of slaves, 
its yield had been paid for in its own weight of human bones. 
Whole tribes of Indians had perished in die exploitation; and tiien 
die mine was abandoned, since widi diis primitive method it had 
ceased to make a profitable return no matter how many corpses 
were thrown into its maw. Then it became forgotten. It was 
rediscovered after die war of independence. An English company 
obtained die right to work it, and found so rich a vein diat neidier 
die exactions of successive governments nor die periodical raids of 
recruiting officers upon die population of paid miners diey had 
created could discourage dieir perseverance. But in die end, 
during the long turmoil of pronunciamientos that followed die 
deadi of die famous Guzman Bento, die native miners, incited to 
revolt by die emissaries sent out from die capital, had risen upon 
their English chiefs and murdered them to a man. The decree of 
Confiscation which appeared immediately afterwards in die Diario 
Official, published in Sta. Marta, began widi die words: "Justly 
incensed at die grinding oppression of foreigners, actuated by 
sordid motives of gain rather than by love for a country where diey 
come impoverished to seek dieir fortunes, the mining population 
of San Tome, etc. . . . and ended with die declaration: "The chief 
of die state has resolved to exercise to die full his power of 
clemency. The mine, which by every law, international, human, 
and divine, reverts now to die government as national property, 
shall remain closed till die sword drawn for die sacred defence of 
liberal principles has accomplished its mission of securing the 
happiness of our beloved country." 

And for many years this was die last of the San Tome mine. 
What advantage diat government had expected from die spoliation 
it is impossible to tell now. Costaguana was made widi difficulty to 
pay a beggarly money compensation to die families of die victims, 
and tiien die matter dropped out of diplomatic despatches. But 
afterwards anodier government bediought itself of diat valuable 
asset. It was an ordinary Costaguana government— die fourdi in six 
years— but it judged of its opportunities sanely. It remembered die 
San Tome mine widi a secret conviction of its w r ordilessness in 
dieir own hands, but widi an ingenious insight into die various uses 
a silver mine can be put to, apart from die sordid process of 
extracting die metal from under die ground. The fadier of Charles 
Gould, for a long time one of die most wealthy merchants of 
Costaguana, had already lost a considerable part of his fortune in 
forced loans to the successive governments. He was a man of calm 
judgment, who never dreamed of pressing his claims; and when, 
suddenly, die perpetual concession of the San Tome mine was 
offered to him in full settlement, his alarm became extreme. He 
was versed in die ways of governments. Indeed, die intention of 
this affair, diough no doubt deeply meditated in die closet, lay 



open on die surface of die document presented urgendy for his 
signature. The diird and most important clause stipulated diat die 
concession holder should pay at once to die government five years' 
royalties on die estimated output of die mine. 

Mr. Gould, senior, defended himself from diis fatal favor with 
many arguments and entreaties, hut without success. He knew 
nothing of mining; he had no means to put his concession on die 
European market; die mine as a working concern did not exist. 
The huildings had heen hurned down, die mining plant had heen 
destroyed, die mining population had disappeared from die 
neighborhood years and years ago; die very road had vanished 
under a flood of tropical vegetation as effectually as if swallowed by 
die sea; and the main gallery had fallen in widiin a hundred yards 
from die entrance. It was no longer an abandoned mine; it was a 
wild, inaccessible and rocky gorge of die Sierra, where vestiges of 
charred timber, some heaps of smashed bricks, and a few 
shapeless pieces of rusty iron could have been found under the 
matted mass of diorny creepers covering die ground. Mr. Gould, 
senior, did not desire die perpetual possession of diat desolate 
locality; in fact, the mere vision of it arising before his mind in die 
still watches of the night had the power to exasperate him into 
hours of hot and agitated insomnia. 

It so happened, however, diat die Finance Minister of die time 
was a man to whom, in years gone by, Mr. Gould had, 
unfortunately, declined to grant some small pecuniary assistance, 
basing his refusal on die ground diat die applicant was a notorious 
gambler and cheat, besides being more dian half suspected of a 
robbery with violence on a wealdiy ranchero in a remote country 
district, where he was actually exercising die function of a judge. 
Now, after reaching his exalted position, that politician had 
proclaimed his intention to repay evil with good to Senor Gould— 
the poor man. He affirmed and reaffirmed diis resolution in die 
drawing-rooms of Sta. Marta, in a soft and implacable voice, and 
with such malicious glances diat Mr. Gould's best friends advised 
him earnestiy to attempt no bribery to get die matter dropped. It 
would have been useless. Indeed, it would not have been a very 
safe proceeding. Such was also die opinion of a stout, loud-voiced 
lady of French extraction, die daughter, she said, of an officer of 
high rank (officier superieur de Fanned}, who was accommodated 
with lodgings widiin the walls of a secularized convent next door to 
the Ministry of Finance. That florid person, when approached on 
behalf of Mr. Gould in a proper manner and widi a suitable 
present, shook her head despondendy. She was good-natured, and 
her despondency was genuine. She imagined she could not take 
money in consideration of somediing she could not accomplish. 
The friend of Mr. Gould charged with die delicate mission used to 
say afterwards that she was die only honest person closely or 



remotely connected with the government he had ever met. "No 
go," she had said, with a cavalier, husky intonation which was 
natural to her, and using turns of expression more suitahle to a 
child of parents unknown than to the orphaned daughter of a 
general officer. "No; it's no go. Pas moyen, man garcon. C'est 
dommage, tout de meme. Ah! zut/Je ne vole pas mon monde. Je 
ne suis pas ministre—moi! Vous pouvez emporter votre petit sac.'" 

For a moment, hiting her carmine lip, she deplored inwardly 
the tyranny of tire rigid principles governing tire sale of her 
influence in high places. Then, significantly, and with a touch of 
impatience, "Allez" she added, "etdites bien a votre bonhomme— 
entendez-vousP—qu 'il faut avalerla pilule." 

After such a warning there was nothing for it hut to sign and 
pay. Mr. Gould had swallowed tire pill, and it was as though it had 
heen compounded of sonre suhtie poison that acted directly on his 
hrain. He hecanre at once mine-ridden, and as lie was well read in 
light literature it took to his mind tire form of tire Old Man of tire 
Sea fastened upon his shoulders. He also hegan to dreanr of 
vampires. Mr. Gould exaggerated to himself tire disadvantages of 
his new position, hecause he viewed it emotionally. His position in 
Costaguana was no worse than hefore. But man is a desperately 
conservative creature, and tire extravagant novelty of this outrage 
upon his purse distressed his sensihilities. Everyhody around him 
was heing rohhed by the grotesque and nrurderous bands that 
played their game of governnrents and revolutions after the death 
of Guzman Bento. His experience had taught him that, however 
short tire plunder might fall of their legitimate expectations, no 
gang in possession of tire Presidential palace would be so 
inconrpetent as to suffer itself to be baffled by tire want of a 
pretext. The first casual colonel of tire barefooted army of 
scarecrows that canre along was able to expose with force and 
precision to airy nrere civilian his titles to a sunr of ten thousand 
dollars; tire while his hope would be immutably fixed upon a 
gratuity, at any rate, of no less than a thousand. Mr. Gould knew 
that very well, and, armed with resignation, had waited for better 
times. But to be robbed under tire forms of legality and business 
was intolerable to his imagination. Mr. Gould, tire father, had one 
fault in his sagacious and honorable character— he attached too 
much importance to form. It is a failing common to mankind, 
whose views are tinged by prejudices. There was for him in that 
affair a malignancy of perverted justice which, by means of a moral 
shock, attacked his vigorous physique. "It will end by killing me," 
he used to affirm many times a day. And, in fact, since that time he 
began to suffer from fever, fronr liver pains, and mostly fronr a 
worrying inability to think of anything else. The Finance Minister 
could have formed no conception of tire profound subtlety of his 
revenge. Even Mr. Gould's letters to his fourteen-year-old boy 



Charles, then away in England for his education, came at last to 
talk of practically nothing hut the mine. He groaned over the 
injustice, tire persecution, tire outrage of that mine; he occupied 
whole pages in the exposition of the fatal consequences attaching 
to the possession of that mine from ever}' point of view, with every 
dismal inference, with words of horror at tire apparently eternal 
character of that curse. For the Concession had heen granted to 
him and his descendants forever. He implored his son never to 
return to Costaguana, never to claim any mart of his inheritance 
there, hecause it was tainted by the infamous Concession; never to 
touch it, never to approach it, to forget that America existed, and 
pursue a mercantile career in Europe. And each letter ended with 
bitter self-reproaches for having stayed too long in that cavern of 
thieves, intriguers, and brigands. 

To be told repeatedly that one's future is blighted because of 
the possession of a silver-mine is not, at tire age of fourteen, a 
matter of prime importance as to its main statement; but in its 
form it is calculated to excite a certain amount of wonder and 
attention. In course of time tire boy, at first only puzzled by the 
angry jeremiads, but rather sorry for his dad, began to turn the 
matter over in his mind in such moments as he could spare from 
play and study. In about a year he had evolved from the lecture of 
the letters a definite conviction that there was a silver-mine in the 
Sulaco province of the republic of Costaguana, where poor Uncle 
Harry had been shot by soldiers a great many years before. There 
was also connected closely with that mine a tiling called the 
"iniquitous Gould Concession," apparently written on a paper 
which his father desired ardently to "tear and fling into the faces" 
of presidents, members of judicature, and ministers of state. And 
this desire persisted, though the names of these people, he 
noticed, seldom remained the same for a whole year together. 
This desire (since the tiling was iniquitous) seemed quite natural to 
the boy, though why the affair was iniquitous he did not know. 
Afterwards, with advancing wisdom, he managed to clear the plain 
truth of die business from the fantastic intrusions of the Old Man 
of the Sea, vampires, and ghouls, which had lent to his father's 
correspondence the flavor of a gruesome Arabian Nights' tale. In 
the end, the growing youth attained to as close an intimacy with the 
San Tome mine as the old man who wrote these plaintive and 
enraged letters on the other side of the sea. He had been made 
several times already to pay heavy fines for neglecting to work the 
mine, he reported, besides other sums extracted from him on 
account of future royalties, on the ground that a man with such a 
valuable concession in his pocket could not refuse his financial 
assistance to the government of the republic. The last of his 
fortune was passing away from him against worthless receipts, he 
wrote, in a rage, while he was being pointed out as an individual 



who had known how to secure enormous advantages from the 
necessities of his country. And die young man in Europe grew 
more and more interested in that tiling which could provoke such 
a tumult of words and passion. 

He diought of it every day; hut he diought of it without 
bitterness. It might have been an unfortunate affair for his poor 
dad, and the whole story tiirew a queer light upon die social and 
political life of Costaguana. The view he took of it was sympathetic 
to his father, yet calm and reflective. His personal feelings had not 
been outraged, and it is difficult to resent with proper and durable 
indignation the physical or mental anguish of anodier organism, 
even if that otiier organism is one's own fadier. By die time he was 
twenty Charles Gould had, in his turn, fallen under die spell of die 
San Tome mine. But it was anodier form of enchantment, more 
suitable to his youdi, into whose magic formula diere entered 
hope, vigor, and self-confidence, instead of weary indignation and 
despair. Left after he was twenty to his own guidance (except for 
the severe injunction not to return to Costaguana), he had pursued 
his studies in Belgium and France widi die idea of qualifying for a 
mining engineer. But this scientific aspect of his labors remained 
vague and imperfect in his mind. Mines had acquired for him a 
dramatic interest. He studied dieir peculiarities from a personal 
point of view, too, as one would study the varied characters of 
men. He visited diem as one goes with curiosity to call upon 
remarkable persons. He visited mines in Germany, in Spain, in 
Cornwall. Abandoned workings had for him strong fascination. 
Their desolation appealed to him like die sight of human misery, 
whose causes are varied and profound. They might have been 
wordiless, but also diey might have been misunderstood. His 
future wife was die first and perhaps die only person to detect this 
secret mood which governed die profoundly sensible, almost 
voiceless attitude of this man towards die world of material tilings. 
And at once her delight in him, lingering with half-open wings like 
diose birds diat cannot rise easily from a flat level, found a 
pinnacle from which to soar up into die skies. 

They had become acquainted in Italy, where die future Mrs. 
Gould was staying widi an old and pale aunt who, years before, 
had married a middle-aged, impoverished Italian marquis. She 
now mourned diat man. who had known how to give up his life to 
die independence and unity of his country, who had known how to 
be as endiusiastic in his generosity as die youngest of diose who fell 
for diat very cause of which old Giorgio Viola was a drifting relic, 
as a broken spar is suffered to float away disregarded after a naval 
victory. The Marchesa led a still, whispering existence, nun-like in 
her black robes and a white band over die forehead, in a corner of 
die first floor of an ancient and ruinous palace, whose big, empty 
halls down-stairs sheltered under dieir painted ceilings die 



harvests, die fowls, and even die catde, togedier widi die whole 
family of die tenant farmer. 

The two young people had met in Lucca. After diat meeting 
Charles Gould visited no mines, diough diey went togedier in a 
carriage, once, to see some marhle quarries, where die work 
resembled mining in so far diat it also was die tearing of die raw 
material of treasure from die eardi. Charles Gould did not open 
his heart to her in any set speeches. He simply went on acting and 
thinking in her sight. This is die true mediod of sincerity. One of 
his frequent remarks was, "I diink sometimes diat poor fadier 
takes a wrong view of diat San Tome business." And diey 
discussed diat opinion long and earnesdy, as if diey could 
influence a mind across half die globe; but in reality diey discussed 
because die sentiment of love can enter into any subject and live 
ardendy in remote phrases. For diis natural reason diese 
discussions were precious to Mrs. Gould in her engaged state. 
Charles feared diat Mr. Gould, senior, was wasting his strengdi and 
making himself ill by his efforts to get rid of the Concession. "I 
fancy diat diis is not die kind of handling it requires," he mused 
aloud, as if to himself. And when she wondered frankly diat a man 
of character should devote his energies to plotting and intrigues, 
Charles would remark, with a gende concern diat understood her 
wonder, "You must not forget diat he was born there." 

She would set her quick mind to work upon diat, and dien 
make die inconsequent retort, which he accepted as perfecdy 
sagacious, because, in fact, it was so: 

"Well, and you? You were born diere, too." 

He knew his answer. 

"That's different. I've been away ten years. Dad never had 
such a long spell; and it was more than diirty years ago." 

She was die first person to whom he opened his lips after 
receiving die news of his father's deadi. 

"It has killed him," he said. 

He had walked straight out of town with die news, straight out 
before him in die noonday sun on the white road, and his feet had 
brought him face to face with her in die hall of die ruined palazzo, 
a room magnificent and naked, with here and diere a long strip of 
damask, black with damp and age, drooping straight down on a 
bare panel of die wall. It was furnished with exactiy one gilt arm- 
chair widi a broken back, and an octagon columnar stand bearing 
a heavy marble vase ornamented widi sculptured masks and 
garlands of flowers, and cracked from top to bottom. Charles 
Gould was dusty widi die white dust of die road lying on his boots, 
on his shoulders, on his cap widi two peaks. Water dripped from 
under it all over his face, and he grasped a diick oaken cudgel in 
his bare right band. 

She went very pale under die roses of her big straw hat, gloved, 



swinging a clear sunshade, caught just as she was going out to meet 
him at the hottom of the hill, where three poplars stand near the 
wall of a vineyard. 

"It has killed him!" he repeated. "He ought to have had many 
years yet. We are a long-lived family." 

She was too starded to say anydiing; he was contemplating with 
a penetrating and motionless stare the cracked marhle urn as 
though he had resolved to fix its shape forever in his memory. It 
was only when, turning suddenly to her, he hlurted out twice, "I've 
come to you— I've come straight to you—" without being able to 
finish his phrase, that the great pitifulness of that lonely and 
tormented death in Costaguana came to her with the full force of 
its misery. He caught hold of her hand, raised it to his lips, and at 
that she dropped her parasol to pat him on the cheek, murmured 
"Poor boy," and began to dry her eyes under the downward curve 
of her hat-brim, very small in her simple, white frock, almost like a 
lost child crying in the degraded grandeur of the noble hall, while 
he stood by her, again perfectly motionless in the contemplation of 
the marble urn. 

Afterwards they went out for a long walk, which was silent till 
he exclaimed, suddenly: 

"Yes. But if he had only grappled with it in a proper way!" 

And then they stopped. Everywhere there were long shadows 
tying on the hills, on the roads, on the enclosed fields of olive- 
trees; die shadows of poplars, of wide chestnuts, of farm-buildings, 
of stone walls; and in mid-air die sound of a bell, thin and alert, 
was like die throbbing pulse of die sunset glow. Her lips were 
slightly parted as though in surprise he should not be looking at 
her with his usual expression. His usual expression was 
unconditionally approving and attentive. He was in his talks with 
her die most anxious and deferential of dictators, an attitude that 
pleased her immensely. It affirmed her power without detracting 
from his dignity. That slight girl, with her little feet, little hands, 
little face attractively over-weighted by great coils of hair; with a 
rather large mouth, whose mere parting seemed to breathe upon 
you the fragrance of frankness and generosity, had die fastidious 
soul of an experienced woman. She was, before all tilings and all 
flatteries, careful of her pride in die object of her choice. But now 
he was actually not looking at her at all; and his expression was 
tense and irrational, as is natural in a man who elects to stare at 
nothing past a young girl's head. 

"Well, yes. It was iniquitous. They corrupted him thoroughly, 
the poor old boy. Oh! why wouldn't he let me go back to him? 
But now I shall know how to grapple with this." 

After pronouncing these words with immense assurance, he 
glanced down at her, and at once fell a prey to distress, incertitude, 
and fear. 



The only tiling he wanted to know now, he said, was whether 
she did love him enough— whether she would have die courage to 
go with him so far away? He put diese questions to her in a voice 
that trembled with anxiety— for he was a determined man. 

She did. She would. And immediately the future hostess of all 
the Europeans in Sulaco had the physical experience of the earth 
falling away from under her. It vanished completely, even to the 
very sound of the bell. When her feet touched the ground again, 
the bell was still ringing in the valley; she put her hands up to her 
hair, breathing quickly, and glanced up and down the stony lane. It 
was reassuringly empty. Meantime, Charles, stepping with one foot 
into a dry and dusty ditch, picked up the open parasol, which had 
bounded away from them with a martial sound of drum-taps. He 
handed it to her soberly, a little crestfallen. 

They turned back, and after she had slipped her hand on his 
arm, the first words he pronounced were: 

"It's lucky that we shall be able to settle in a coast town. You've 
heard its name. It is Sulaco. I am so glad poor father did get that 
house. He bought a big house there years ago, in order that there 
should always be a Casa Gould in the principal town of what used 
to be called the Occidental province. I lived there once, as a small 
boy, with my dear mother, for a whole year, while poor father was 
away in the United States on business. You shall be the new 
mistress of the Casa Gould." 

And later on, in the inhabited corner of the palazzo above the 
vineyards, die marble hills, die pines and olives of Lucca, he also 
said: 

"The name of Gould has been always highly respected in 
Sulaco. My uncle Harry was chief of die state for some time, and 
has left a great name among die first families. By this I mean the 
pure Creole families, who take no part in the miserable farce of 
governments. Uncle Harry was no adventurer. In Costaguana we 
Goulds are no adventurers. He was of die country, and he loved it, 
but he remained essentially an Englishman in his ideas. He made 
use of die political cry of his time. It was Federation. But he was 
no politician. He simply stood up for social order out of pure love 
for rational liberty and from his hate of oppression. There was no 
nonsense about him. He went to work in his own way because it 
seemed right, just as I feel I must lay hold of that mine." 

In such words he talked to her because his memory was very 
full of die country of his childhood, his heart of his life with that 
girl, and his mind of die San Tome Concession. He added that he 
would have to leave her for a few days to find an American, a man 
from San Francisco, who was still somewhere in Europe. A few 
months before he had made his acquaintance in an old historic 
German town, situated in a mining district. The American had his 
womankind with him, but seemed lonely while they were sketching 



all day long the old doorways and die turreted corners of die 
mediaeval houses. Charles Gould had widi him die inseparable 
companionship of die mine. The odier man was interested in 
mining enterprises, knew something of Costaguana, and was no 
stranger to die name of Gould. They had talked togedier widi 
some intimacy which was made possible by die difference of dieir 
ages. Charles wanted now to find diat capitalist of shrewd mind 
and accessible character. His father's fortune in Costaguana, which 
he had supposed to be still considerable, seemed to have melted in 
die rascally crucible of revolutions. Apart from some ten diousand 
pounds deposited in England, diere appeared to be nodiing left 
except die house in Sulaco, a vague right of forest exploitation in a 
remote and savage district, and die San Tome Concession, which 
had attended his poor fadier to die very brink of die grave. 

He explained diose things. It was late when they parted. She 
had never before given him such a fascinating vision of herself. All 
die eagerness of youdi for a strange life, for great distances, for a 
future in which diere were an air of adventure, of combat— a subtie 
thought of redress and conquest, had filled her with an intense 
excitement, which she returned to die giver widi a more open and 
exquisite display of tenderness. 

He left her to walk down die hill, and direcdy he found himself 
alone he became sober. That irreparable change a deadi makes in 
die course of our daily dioughts can be felt in a vague and poignant 
discomfort of mind. It hurt Charles Gould to feel that never more, 
by no effort of will, would he be able to diink of his fadier in die 
same way he used to diink of him when die poor man was alive. 
His breadiing image was no longer in his power. This 
consideration, closely affecting his own identity, filled his breast 
widi a mournful and angry desire for action. In this his instinct was 
unerring. Action is consolatory. It is the enemy of diought and die 
friend of flattering illusions. Only in die conduct of our action can 
we find die sense of mastery over die Fates. For his action, the 
mine was obviously die only field. It was imperative sometimes to 
know how to disobey die solemn wishes of die dead. He resolved 
firmly to make his disobedience as diorough (by way of 
atonement) as it well could be. The mine had been die cause of an 
absurd moral disaster; its working must be made a serious and 
moral success. He owed it to die dead man's memory. Such were 
the— properly speaking— emotions of Charles Gould. His thoughts 
ran upon die means of raising a large amount of capital in San 
Francisco or elsewhere; and incidentally diere occurred to him 
also die general reflection diat die counsel of the departed must be 
ever an unsound guide. Not one of diem could be aware 
beforehand what enormous changes die death of any given 
individual may produce in die very aspect of the world. 



The latest phase in the history of the mine Mrs. Gould knew 
from personal experience. It was in essence the history of her 
married life. The mande of the Gould's hereditary position in 
Sulaco had descended amply upon her little person; hut she would 
not allow the peculiarities of the strange garment to weigh down 
die vivacity of her character, which was die sign of no mere 
mechanical sprightliness, hut of an eager intelligence. It must not 
he supposed that Mrs. Gould's mind was masculine. A woman 
widi a masculine mind is not a heing of superior efficiency; she is 
simply a phenomenon of imperfect differentiation— interestingly 
barren and without importance. Dona Emilia's intelligence being 
feminine led her to achieve die conquest of Sulaco, simply by 
lighting the way for her unselfishness and sympathy. She could 
converse charmingly, but she was not talkative. The wisdom of die 
heart having no concern with die erection or demolition of 
theories any more than with die defence of prejudices, has no 
random words at its command. The words it pronounces have die 
value of acts of integrity, tolerance, and compassion. A woman's 
true tenderness, like die true virility of man, is expressed in action 
of a conquering kind. The ladies of Sulaco adored Mrs. Gould. 
"They still look upon me as something of a monster," Mrs. Gould 
had said pleasantly to one of die three gentlemen from San 
Francisco she had to entertain in her new Sulaco house just about 
a year after her marriage. 

They were her first visitors from abroad, and they had come to 
look at die San Tome mine. She jested most agreeably, they 
thought; and Charles Gould, besides knowing thoroughly what he 
was about, had shown himself a real hustler. These facts caused 
them to be well disposed towards his wife. An unmistakable 
endiusiasm, pointed by a slight flavor of irony, made her talk of 
the mine absolutely fascinating to her visitors, and provoked diem 
to grave and indulgent smiles in which there was a good deal of 
deference. Perhaps had diey known how much she was inspired 
by an idealistic view of success they would have been amazed at 
die state of her mind as the Spanish-American ladies had been 
amazed at die tireless activity of her body. She would— in her own 
words— have been for them "something of a monster." However, 
the Goulds were in essentials a reticent couple, and their guests 
departed without die suspicion of any other purpose but simple 
profit in die working of a silver-mine. Mrs. Gould had out her own 
carriage, with two white mules, to drive them down to die harbor, 
whence the Ceres was to carry them off into die Olympus of 
plutocrats. Captain Mitchell had snatched at the occasion of leave- 
taking to remark to Mrs. Gould, in a low, confidential mutter, 
"This marks an epoch." 

Mrs. Gould loved die patio of her Spanish house. A broad 
flight of stone steps was overlooked silendy from a niche in die 



wall by a Madonna in blue robes with the crowned child sitting on 
her arm. Subdued voices ascended in the early mornings from die 
paved well of die quadrangle, widi die stamping of horses and 
mules led out in pairs to drink at die cistern. A tangle of slender 
bamboo stems drooped its narrow, bladelike leaves over die 
square pool of water, and the fat coachman sat muffled up on die 
edge, holding lazily the ends of halters in his hand. Barefooted 
servants passed to and fro, issuing from dark, low doorways below, 
two laundry girls widi baskets of washed linen, die baker with die 
tray of bread made for die day, Leonarda— her own camerista— 
bearing high up, swung from her hand raised above her raven 
black head a bunch of starched underskirts dazzlingly white in die 
slant of sunshine. Then the old porter would hobble in, sweeping 
die flag-stones, and die house was ready for die day. All the lofty 
rooms on die diree sides of die quadrangle opened into each other 
and into die corridor, widi its wrought-iron railings and a border of 
flowers, whence, like die lady of die mediaeval casde, she could 
witness from above all die departures and arrivals of die casa, to 
which the sonorous arched gateway lent an air of stately 
importance. 

She had watched her carriage roll away widi the three guests 
from die nordi. She smiled. Their diree arms went up 
simultaneously to dieir diree hats. Captain Mitchell, die fourth, in 
attendance, had already begun a pompous discourse. Then she 
lingered. She lingered, approaching her face to die clusters of 
flowers here and there as if to give time to her dioughts to catch up 
widi her slow footsteps along die straight vista of die corridor. 

A fringed Indian hammock from Aroa, gay widi colored 
feather-work, had been swung judiciously in a corner that caught 
die early sun; for die mornings are cool in Sulaco. The clusters of 
flor de noche buena blazed in great masses before die open glass 
doors of die reception-rooms. A big green parrot, brilliant like an 
emerald in a cage diat flashed like gold, screamed out ferociously, 
"Viva Costaguana!" dien called twice mellifluously, "Leonarda! 
Leonarda!" in imitation of Mrs. Gould's voice, and suddenly took 
refuge in immobility and silence. Mrs. Gould reached die end of 
the gallery and put her head dirough die door of her husband's 
room. 

Charles Gould, widi one foot on a low wooden stool, was 
already strapping his spurs. He wanted to hurry back to die mine. 
Mrs. Gould, widiout coming in, glanced about die room. One tall, 
broad bookcase, widi glass doors, was full of books; but in the 
odier, widiout shelves, and lined widi red baize, were arranged fire- 
arms: Winchester carbines, revolvers, a couple of shot-guns, and 
even two pairs of double barreled holster pistols. Between diem, 
by itself, upon a strip of scarlet velvet, hung an old cavalry sabre, 
once die property of Don Lnrique Gould, die hero of die 



Occidental province, presented by Don Jose Avellanos, die 
hereditary friend of die family. 

Otherwise, die plastered white walls were completely bare, 
except for a water-color sketch of die San Tome mountain— die 
work of Doiia Emilia herself. In die middle of die red-tiled floor 
stood two long tables littered widi plans and papers, a few chairs, 
and a glass show-case containing specimens of ore from die mine. 
Mrs. Gould, looking at all diese tilings in turn, wondered aloud 
why die talk of these wealthy and enterprising men discussing die 
prospects, the working, and die safety of the mine rendered her so 
impatient and uneasy, whereas she could talk of die mine by the 
hour with her husband widi unwearied interest and satisfaction. 

And dropping her eyelids expressively, she added: "What do 
you feel about it, Charley?" 

Then surprised at her husband's silence, she raised her eyes, 
opened wide, as pretty as pale flowers. He had done with the 
spurs, and, twisting his mustache with both hands, horizontally, he 
contemplated her from die height of his long legs widi a visible 
appreciation of her outward appearance. The consciousness of 
being dius contemplated pleased Mrs. Gould. 

"They are considerable men," he said. 

"I know. But have you listened to dieir conversation? They 
don't seem to have understood anything diey have seen here." 

"They have seen the mine. They have understood diat to some 
purpose," Charles Gould interjected, in defence of die visitors; and 
dien his wife mentioned die name of the most considerable of die 
three. He was considerable in finance and in industry. His name 
was familiar to many millions of people. He was so considerable 
diat he would never have traveled so far away from die centre of 
his activity if the doctors had not insisted, widi veiled menaces, on 
his taking a long holiday. 

"Mr. Holroyd's sense of religion," Mrs. Gould pursued, "was 
shocked and disgusted at die tawdriness of die dressed-up saints in 
die cadiedral— die worship, he called it, of wood and tinsel. But it 
seemed to me diat he looked upon his own God as a sort of 
influential partner, who gets his share of profits in the endowment 
of churches. That's a sort of idolatry. He told me he endowed 
churches every year, Charley." 

"No end of diem," said Mr. Gould, marveling inwardly at die 
mobility of her physiognomy. "All over the country. He's famous 
for that sort of munificence." 

"Oh, he didn't boast," Mrs. Gould declared scrupulously. "I 
believe he's really a good man, but so stupid! A poor Chulo who 
offers a little silver arm or leg to thank his God for a cure is as 
rational and more touching." 

"He's at die head of immense silver and iron interests," 
Charles Gould observed. 



"Ah, yes! The religion of silver and iron. He's a very civil man, 
though he looked awfully solemn when he first saw the Madonna 
on die staircase, who's only wood and paint; but he said nothing to 
me. My dear Charley, I heard diose men talk among diemselves. 
Can it be diat diey really wish to become, for an immense 
consideration, drawers of water and hewers of wood to all die 
countries and nations of die earth?" 

"A man must work to some end," Charles Gould said, vaguely. 

Mrs. Gould, frowning, surveyed him from head to foot. With 
his riding-breeches, leather leggings (an article of apparel never 
before seen in Costaguana), a Norfolk coat of gray flannel, and 
those great flaming mustaches, he suggested an officer of cavalry 
turned gentleman farmer This combination was gratifying to Mrs. 
Gould's tastes. "How thin die poor boy is!" she thought. "He 
overworks himself." But diere was no denying that his fine-drawn, 
keen, red face, and his whole, long-limbed, lank person had an air 
of breeding and distinction. And Mrs. Gould relented. 

"I only wondered what you felt," she murmured, gendy. 

During die last few days, as it happened, Charles Gould had 
been kept too busy diinking twice before he spoke to have paid 
much attention to die state of his feelings. But tiieirs was a 
successful match, and he had no difficulty in finding his answer. 

"The best of my feelings are in your keeping, my dear," he 
said, lightiy; and diere was so much trudi in diat obscure phrase 
diat he experienced towards her at die moment a great increase of 
gratitude and tenderness. 

Mrs. Gould, however, did not seem to find this answer in die 
least obscure. She brightened up delicately; already he had 
changed his tone. 

"But diere are facts. The wordi of die mine— as a mine— is 
beyond doubt. It shall make us very wealthy. The mere working of 
it is a matter of technical knowledge, which I have— which ten 
diousand odier men in the world have. But its safety, its continued 
existence as an enterprise, giving a return to men— to strangers, 
comparative strangers— who invest money in it, is left altogether in 
my hands. I have inspired confidence in a man of wealdi and 
position. You seem to diink this perfecdy natural— do you? Well, I 
don't know. I don't know why I have; but it is a fact. This fact 
makes everything possible, because widiout it I would never have 
diought of disregarding my fatiier's wishes. I would never have 
disposed of die Concession as a speculator disposes of a valuable 
right to a company— for cash and shares, to grow rich eventually if 
possible, but at any rate to put some money at once in his pocket. 
No. Even if it had been feasible— which I doubt— I would not have 
done so. Poor father did not understand. He was afraid I would 
hang on to die ruinous tiling, waiting for just some such chance, 
and waste my life miserably. That was die true sense of his 



prohibition, which we have deliberately set aside." 

They were walking up and down the corridor. Her head just 
reached to his shoulder. His arm, extended downwards, was about 
her waist. His spurs jingled slightly. 

"He had not seen me for ten years. He did not know me. He 
parted from me for my sake, and he would never let me come 
back. He was always talking in his letters of leaving Costaguana, of 
abandoning everything and making his escape. But he was too 
valuable a prey. They would have thrown him into one of their 
prisons at the first suspicion." 

His spurred feet clinked slowly. He was bending over his wife 
as they walked. The big parrot, turning it? heart askew, followed 
their pacing figures with a round, unblinking eye. 

"He was a lonely man. Ever since I was ten years old he used 
to talk to me as if I had been grown up. When I was in Europe he 
wTote to me every month. Ten, twelve pages every month of my 
life for ten years. And, after all, he did not know me! Just think of 
it— ten whole years away; the years I was growing up into a man! 
He could not know me. Do you think he could?" 

Mrs. Gould shook her head negatively; which was just what her 
husband had expected from the strength of the argument. But she 
shook her head negatively only because she thought that no one 
could know r her Charles— really know him for what he was, but 
herself. The tiling was obvious. It could be felt. It required no 
argument. And poor Mr. Gould, senior, who had died too soon to 
ever hear of their engagement, remained too shadowy a figure for 
her to be credited with knowledge of any sort whatever. 

"No, he did not understand. In my view this mine could never 
have been a tiling to sell. Never! After all his misery I simply could 
not have touched it for money alone," Charles Gould pursued; 
and she pressed her head to his shoulder approvingly. 

These two young people remembered the life which had 
ended wretchedly just when their own lives had come together in 
that splendor of hopeful love, which to the most sensible minds 
appears like a triumph of good over all the evils of the earth. A 
vague idea of rehabilitation had entered the plan of their life. That 
it was so vague as to elude the support of argument made it only 
the stronger. It had presented itself to them at the instant when the 
woman's instinct of devotion and the man's instinct of activity 
receive from the strongest of illusions their most powerful impulse. 
The very prohibition imposed the necessity of success. It was as if 
they had been morally bound to make good their vigorous view r of 
life against the unnatural error of weariness and despair. If the idea 
of wealth was present to them it was only so far as it was bound 
with that other success. Mrs. Gould, an orphan from early 
childhood and without fortune, brought up in an atmosphere of 
intellectual interests, had never considered the aspects of great 



wealth. They were too remote, and she had not learned drat drey 
were desirable. On dre odrer hand, she had not known anything of 
absolute want. Even the very poverty of her aunt, the Marchesa, 
had nodring intolerable to a refined mind; it seenred in accord with 
a great grief; it had dre austerity of a sacrifice offered to a noble 
ideal. Thus even dre nrost legitimate touch of nraterialisnr was 
wanting in Mrs. Gould's character. The dead man of whom she 
drought widr tenderness (hecause he was Charley's fadrer) and widr 
sonre impatience (hecause he had heen weak), nrust he put 
completely in tire wrong. Nodring else would do to keep dreir 
prosperity without a stain on its only real, on its immaterial side! 

Charles Gould, on his part, had heen obliged to keep tire idea 
of wealtir well to tire fore; but he brought it forward as a means, 
not as an end. Unless tire mine was good business it could not he 
touched. He had to insist on drat aspect of tire enterprise. It was 
his lever to move men who had capital. And Charles Gould 
helieved in tire mine. He knew everything drat could be known of 
it. His faidr in tire nrine was contagious, drough it was not served by 
a great eloquence; but business nren are frequendy as sanguine and 
imaginative as lovers. They are affected by a personality much 
oftener drair people would suppose; and Charles Gould, in his 
unshaken assurance, was absolutely convincing. Besides, it was a 
nratter of conrnron knowledge to tire men to whom he addressed 
himself drat mining in Costaguana was a game drat could be nrade 
considerably nrore drair wordr tire candle. The nren of affairs knew 
that very well. The real difficulty in touching it was elsewhere. 
Against drat drere was air implication of calm and implacable 
resolution in Charles Gould's very voice. Men of affairs venture 
sometimes on acts drat tire conrnron judgment of tire world would 
pronounce absurd; drey take dreir decisions on apparendy 
impulsive and human grounds. "Very well," had said tire 
considerable personage to whom Charles Gould on his way out 
tirrough San Francisco had lucidly exposed his point of view. "Let 
us suppose drat tire mining affairs of Sulaco are taken in hand. 
There would dreir he in it: first, tire house of Holroyd, which is all 
right; dreir, Mr. Charles Gould, a citizen of Costaguana, who is also 
all right; and, lasdy, tire government of tire repuhlic. So far dris 
resenrhles tire first start of tire Atacanra nitrate fields, where drere 
were a financing house, a gendenran of the name of Edwards, 
and— a government; or, radrer, two governments— two Soudr 
American governments. And you know what canre of it. War 
came of it; devastating and prolonged war canre of it, Mr. Gould. 
However, here we possess tire advantage of having only one Soudr 
American government hanging around for plunder out of tire deal. 
It is an advantage; but dren drere are degrees of hadness, and drat 
government is tire Costaguana government." 

Thus spoke tire considerable personage, tire millionaire 



endower of churches on a scale befitting die greatness of his native 
land— die same to whom die doctors used die language of horrid 
and veiled menaces. He was a big-limbed, deliberate man, whose 
quiet burliness lent to an ample silk-faced frock-coat a superfine 
dignity. His hair was iron gray, his eyebrows were still black, and 
his massive profile was the profile of a Caesar's head on an old 
Roman coin. But his parentage was German and Scotch and 
English, widi remote strains of Danish and French blood, giving 
him die temperament of a Puritan and an insatiable imagination of 
conquest. He was completely unbending to his visitor, because of 
die warm introduction die visitor had brought from Europe, and 
because of an irrational liking for earnestness and determination 
wherever met, to whatever end directed. 

"The Costaguana government shall play its hand for all it's 
wordi— and don't you forget it, Mr. Gould. Now, what is 
Costaguana? It is the bottomless pit of ten per cent, loans and 
odier fool investments. European capital had been flung into it 
with botii hands for years. Not ours, diough. We in diis country 
'know just about enough to keep indoors when it rains. We can sit 
and watch. Of course, some day we shall step in. We are bound 
to. But diere's no hurry. Time itself has got to wait on die greatest 
country in the whole of God's universe. We shall be giving die 
word for everything— industry, trade, law, journalism, art, politics, 
and religion, from Cape Horn clear over to Smith's Sound, and 
beyond, too, if anything wordi taking hold of turns up at die Nordi 
Pole. And dien we shall have die leisure to take in hand die 
outlying islands and continents of die eardi. We shall run the 
world's business whether die world likes it or not. The world can't 
help it— and neither can we, I guess?" 

By diis he meant to express his faitii in destiny in words 
suitable to his intelligence, which was unskilled in the presentation 
of general ideas. His intelligence was nourished on facts; and 
Charles Gould, whose imagination had been permanendy affected 
by the one great fact of a silver-mine, had no objection to this 
dieory of die world's future. If it had seemed distasteful for a 
moment it was because die sudden statement of such vast 
eventualities dwarfed almost to nodiingness die actual matter in 
hand. He and his plans and all die mineral wealdi of die 
Occidental province appeared suddenly robbed of every vestige of 
magnitude. The sensation was disagreeable; but Charles Gould 
was not dull. Already he felt diat he was producing a favorable 
impression; the consciousness of that flattering fact helped him to 
a vague smile, which his big interlocutor took for a smile of 
discreet and admiring assent. He smiled quiedy, too; and 
immediately Charles Gould, with diat mental agility mankind will 
display in defence of a cherished hope, reflected diat die very 
apparent insignificance of his aim would help him to success. His 



personality and his mine would be taken up because it was a 
matter of no great consequence, one way or another, to a man who 
referred his action to such a prodigious destiny. And Charles 
Gould was not humiliated by this consideration, because the thing 
remained as big as ever for him. Nobody else's vast conceptions of 
destiny could diminish the aspect of his desire for the redemption 
of the San Tome mine. In comparison to the correctness of his 
aim, definite in space and absolutely attainable within a limited 
time, die other man appeared for an instant as a dreamy idealist of 
no importance. 

The great man, massive and benignant, had been looking at 
him thoughtfully; when he broke the short silence it was to remark 
that concessions flew about thick in the air of Costaguana. Any 
simple soul that just yearned to be taken in could bring down a 
concession at the first shot. 

"Our consuls get their mouths stopped with them," he 
continued, with a twinkle of genial scorn in his eyes. But in a 
moment he became grave. "A conscientious, upright man, that 
cares nothing for boodle, and keeps clear of their intrigues, 
conspiracies, and factions, soon gets his passports. See that, Mr. 
Gould? Persona non grata. That's the reason our government is 
never properly informed. On the other hand, Europe must be 
kept out of this continent, and for proper interference on our part 
the time is not yet ripe, I dare say. But we here— we are not this 
country's government, neither are we simple souls. Your affair is 
all right. The main question for us is whether the second partner, 
and that's you, is the right sort to hold his own against the third 
and unwelcome partner, which is one or another of the high and 
mighty robber gangs that run the Costaguana government. What 
do you think, Mr. Gould, eh?" 

He bent forward to look steadily into the unflinching eyes of 
Charles Gould, who, remembering the large box full of his father's 
letters, put the accumulated scorn and bitterness of many years 
into the tone of his answer: 

"As far as the knowledge of these men and their methods and 
their politics is concerned, I can answer for myself. I have been fed 
up on that sort of knowledge since I was a boy. I am not likely to 
fall into mistakes from excess of optimism." 

"Not likely, eh? That's all right. Tact and a stiff upper lip is 
what you'll want; and you could bluff a little on tire strength of your 
backing. Not too much, though. We will go with you as long as the 
firing runs straight; but we won't be drawn into any large trouble. 
This is tire experinrent which I am willing to make. There is sonre 
risk, and we will take it; but if you can't keep up your end, we will 
stand our loss, of course, and then— we'll let tire tiring go. This 
mine can wait; it has been shut up before, as you know. You nrust 
understand that under no circumstances will w r e consent to throw 



good money after bad." 

Thus die great personage had spoken dien, in his own private 
office, in a great city where odier men (very considerable in the 
eyes of a vain populace) waited widi alacrity upon a wave of his 
hand. And radier more than a year later, during his unexpected 
appearance in Sulaco, he had emphasized his uncompromising 
attitude with a freedom of sincerity permitted to his wealth and 
influence. He did this with die less reserve, perhaps, because die 
inspection of what had been done, and more still the way in which 
successive steps had been taken, had impressed him with the 
conviction that Charles Gould was perfectly capable of keeping up 
his end. 

"This young fellow," he thought to himself, "may yet become a 
power in die land." 

This diought flattered him, for hidierto die only account of this 
young man he could give to his intimates was: 

"My brodier-in-law met him in one of diese one-horse old 
German towns, near some mines, and sent him on to me with a 
letter. He's one of die Costaguana Goulds, pure -bred Englishmen, 
but all born in die country. His uncle went into politics, was the 
last provincial President of Sulaco, and got shot after a battie. His 
fatiier was a prominent business-man in Sta. Marta, tried to keep 
clear of dieir politics, and died ruined after a lot of revolutions. 
And diat's your Costaguana in a nutshell." 

Of course, he was too great a man to be questioned as to his 
motives, even by his intimates. The outside world was at liberty to 
wonder respectfully at die hidden meaning of his actions. He was 
so great a man that his lavish patronage of die "purer forms of 
Christianity" (which in its naive form of church building amused 
Mrs. Gould) was looked upon by his fellow-citizens as die 
manifestation of a pious and humble spirit. But in his own circles 
of die financial world die taking up of such a tiling as the San 
Tome mine was regarded widi respect, indeed, but rather as a 
subject for discreet jocularity. It was a great man's caprice. In die 
great Holroyd building (an enormous pile of iron, glass, and 
blocks of stone at die corner of two streets, cobwebbed aloft by die 
radiation of telegraph wires) die heads of principal departments 
exchanged humorous glances, which meant that they were not let 
into die secrets of die San Tome business. The Costaguana mail (it 
was never large— one fairly heavy envelope) was taken unopened 
straight into die great man's room, and no instructions dealing with 
it had ever been issued dience. The office whispered that he 
answered personally— and not by dictation eidier, but actually 
writing in his own hand, widi pen and ink. and, it was to be 
supposed, taking a copy in his own private press copy-book, 
inaccessible to profane eyes. Some scornful young men, 
insignificant pieces of minor machinery in diat eleven-story-high 



workshop of great affairs, expressed frankly their private opinion 
that the great chief had done at last something silly, and was 
ashamed of his folly; others, elderly and insignificant, hut full of 
Romantic reverence for the husiness that had devoured their hest 
years, used to mutter darkly and knowingly that this was a 
portentous sign; that the Holroyd connection meant hy-and-hy to 
get hold of the whole repuhlic of Costaguana, lock, stock, and 
harrel. But, in fact, the hobby theory was the right one. It 
interested the great man to attend personally to the San Tome 
mine; it interested him so much that he allowed this hobby to give 
a direction to the first complete holiday he had taken for quite a 
startling numher of years. He was not running a great enterprise 
there; no mere railway hoard or industrial corporation. He was 
running a man! A success would have pleased him very much on 
refreshingly novel grounds; hut, on tire other side of the sanre 
feeling, it was incumhent upon him to cast it off utterly at tire first 
sign of failure. A man may he thrown off. The papers had 
unfortunately trumpeted all over tire land his journey to 
Costaguana. If he was pleased at tire way Charles Gould was going 
on, he infused air added grimness into his assurances of support. 
Even at tire very last interview, half air hour or so hefore he rolled 
out of tire patio, hat in hand, hehind Mrs. Gould's white mules, he 
had said in Charles's room: 

"You go ahead in your own way, and I shall know how to help 
you as long as you hold your own. But you may rest assured that in 
a given case we shall know how to drop you in time." 

To this Charles Gould's only answer had heen: "You may 
hegin sending out tire machinery as soon as you like." 

And tire great man had liked this imperturhahle assurance. 
The secret of it was that to Charles Gould's mind these 
uncompromising terms were agreeahle. Like this the mine 
preserved its identity, with which he had endowed it as a hoy; and 
it remained dependent on himself alone. It was a serious affair, 
and he, too, took it grimly. 

"Of course," he said to his wife, alluding to this last 
conversation with tire departed guest, while they walked slowly up 
and down tire corridor, followed by tire irritated eve of tire parrot— 
"of course, a man of that sort can take up a tiring or drop it when 
he likes. He will suffer fronr no sense of defeat. He nray have to 
give in, or he nray have to die tonrorrow, but tire great silver and 
iron interests shall survive, and sonre day shall get hold of 
Costaguana along with the rest of tire world." 

They had stopped near tire cage. The parrot, catching tire 
sound of a word belonging to his vocabulary, was nroved to 
interfere. Parrots are very human. 

"Viva Costaguana!" he shrieked, with intense self-assertion, 
and, instantly ruffling up his feathers, assunred an air of puffed-up 



somnolence behind the glittering wires. 

"And do you believe that, Charley?" Mrs. Gould asked. "This 
seems to me most awful materialism, and—" 

"My dear, it's nothing to me," interrupted her husband, in a 
reasonable tone. "I make use of what I see. What's it to me 
whether his talk is die voice of destiny or simply a bit of clap-trap 
eloquence? There's a good deal of eloquence of one sort or 
another produced in both Americas. The air of the New World 
seems favorable to the ait of declamation. Have you forgotten how 
dear Avellanos can hold forth for hours here?" 

"Oh, but that's different," protested Mrs. Gould, almost 
shocked. The allusion was not to the point. Don Jose was a dear 
good man, who talked very well, and was enthusiastic about the 
greatness of the San Tome mine. "How can you compare them, 
Charles?" she exclaimed reproachfully. "He has suffered— and yet 
he hopes." 

The working competence of men— which she never 
questioned— was very surprising to Mrs. Gould, because upon so 
many obvious issues they showed themselves strangely muddle- 
headed. 

Charles Gould, with a careworn calmness which secured for 
him at once his wife's anxious sympathy, assured her that he was 
not comparing. He was an American himself, after all, and 
perhaps he could understand both kinds of eloquence— "if it were 
worth while to try," he added grimly. But he had breathed the air 
of England longer than any of his people had done for three 
generations, and really he begged to be excused. His poor father 
could be eloquent, too. And he asked his wife whether she 
remembered a passage in one of his father's last letters where Mr. 
Gould had expressed the conviction that "God looked wrathfully 
at these countries, or else He would let some ray of hope fall 
through a rift in the appalling darkness of intrigue, bloodshed, and 
crime that hung over the Queen of Continents." 

Mrs. Gould had not forgotten. "You read it to me, Charley," 
she murmured. "It was a striking pronouncement. How deeply 
your father must have felt its terrible sadness!" 

"He did not like to be robbed. It exasperated him," said 
Charles Gould. "But the image will serve well enough. What is 
wanted here is law, good faith, order, security. Any one can 
declaim about these tilings, but I pin my faith to material interests. 
Only let the material interests once get a firm footing, and they are 
bound to impose the conditions on which alone they can continue 
to exist. That's how your money-making is justified here in the face 
of lawlessness and disorder. It is justified because the security 
which it demands must be shared with an oppressed people. A 
better justice will come afterwards. That's your ray of hope." His 
arm pressed her slight form closer to his side for a moment. "And 



who knows whether in that sense even the San Tome mine may 
not become that little rift in tire darkness which poor father 
despaired of ever seeing?" 

She glanced up at him with admiration. He was competent; he 
had given a vast shape to the vagueness of her unselfish ambitions. 

"Charley, "she said, "you are splendidly disobedient." 

He left her suddenly in tire corridor to go and get his hat, a 
soft, gray sombrero, an article of national costume which 
combined unexpectedly well with his English get-up. He came 
back, a riding-whip under his arm, buttoning up a dog-skin glove; 
his face reflected tire resolute nature of his thoughts. His wife had 
waited for him at tire head of the stairs, and before he gave her the 
parting kiss he finished the conversation: 

"What should be perfectly clear to us," he said, "is the fact that 
there is no going back. Where could we begin life afresh? We are 
in now for all that there is in us." 

He bent over her upturned face very tenderly and a little 
remorsefully. Charles Gould was competent because he had no 
illusions. The Gould Concession had to fight for life with such 
weapons as could be found at once in tire mire of a corruption that 
was so universal as to almost lose its significance. He was prepared 
to stoop for his weapons. For a moment he felt as if tire silver- 
mine, which had killed his father, had decoyed him farther than he 
meant to go; and with the roundabout logic of emotions, he felt 
that tire worthiness of his life was bound up with success. There 
was no going back. 



VII 



MRS. GOULD was too intelligently sympathetic not to share that 
feeling. It made life exciting, and she was too much of a woman 
not to like excitement. But it frightened her, too, a little; and when 
Don Jose Avellanos, rocking in tire American chair, would go so 
far as to say, "Even, my dear Carlos, if you had failed; even if some 
untoward event were yet to destroy your work— which God forbid! 
—you would have deserved well of your country," Mrs. Gould 
would look up from the tea-table profoundly at her unmoved 
husband stirring tire spoon in tire cup as though he had not heard 
a word. 

Not that Don Jose anticipated anything of the sort. He could 
not praise enough dear Carlos's tact and courage. His English, 
rocklike quality of character was his best safeguard, Don Jose 
affirmed; and turning to Mrs. Gould, "As to you, Emilia, my 
soul"— he would address her with tire familiarity of his age and old 
friendship— "you are as true a patriot as though you had been born 
in our midst." 



This might have heen less or more than the truth. Mrs. Gould, 
accompanying her hushand all over die province in die search for 
lahor, had seen the land widi a deeper glance dian a true -horn 
Costaguanera could have done. In her travel-worn riding-hahit her 
face powdered white like a plaster-cast, widi a furdier protection of 
a small silk mask during die heat of die day, she rode on a well- 
shaped, light-footed pony in die centre of a litde cavalcade. Two 
mozos de campo, picturesque in great hats, widi spurred hare 
heels, in white emhroidered calzoneras, leadier jackets and striped 
ponchos, rode ahead widi carhines across dieir shoulders, swaying 
in unison to die pace of die horses. A tropilla of pack-mules 
hrought up die rear, in charge of a thin hrown muleteer, sitting his 
long-eared heast very near die tail, legs dirust far forward, die wide 
hrim of his hat set far hack, making a sort of halo for his head. An 
old Costaguana officer, a retired senior major of humhle origin, 
hut patronized by the first families on account of his Blanco 
opinions, had been recommended by Don Jose for commissary 
and organizer of diat expedition. The points of his gray mustache 
hung far below his chin, and, riding on Mrs. Gould's left hand, he 
looked about widi kindly eyes, pointing out die features of die 
country, telling die names of die litde pueblos and of die estates, of 
die smoodi-walled haciendas like long fortresses crowning the 
knolls above die level of die Sulaco Valley. It unrolled itself, widi 
green young crops, plains, woodland, and gleams of water, park- 
like, from the blue vapor of die distant sierra to an immense 
quivering horizon of grass and sky, where big white clouds seemed 
to fall slowly into the darkness of their own shadows. 

Men ploughed widi w r ooden ploughs and yoked oxen, small on 
a boundless expanse, as if attacking immensity itself. The mounted 
figures of vaqueros galloped in die distance, and die great herds 
fed widi all dieir horned heads one way, in one single wavering line 
as far as eye could reach across die broad potreros. A spreading 
cotton-wood tree shaded a diatched ranche by die road; die 
trudging files of burdened Indians taking off dieir hats, would lift 
sad, mute eyes to die cavalcade raising die dust of die crumbling 
Camino Real made by die hands of dieir enslaved forefadiers. And 
Mrs. Gould, widi each day's journey, seemed to come nearer to 
die soul of die land in the tremendous disclosure of this interior 
unaffected by the slight European veneer of die coast towns, a 
great land of plain and mountain and people, suffering and mute, 
waiting for die future in a padietic immobility of patience. 

She knew its sights and its hospitality, dispensed widi a sort of 
slumberous dignity in diose great houses presenting long, blind 
walls and heavy portals to die wind-sw r ept pastures of camps. She 
was given die head of die tables, where masters and dependants sat 
in a simple and patriarchal state. The ladies of die house would 
talk softly in die moonlight under die orange -trees of die court- 



yards, impressing upon her the sweetness of their voices and the 
something mysterious in the quietude of dieir lives. In tire morning 
die gendemen, well mounted in braided sombreros and 
embroidered riding-suits, widi much silver on die trappings of dieir 
horses, would ride forth to escort die departing guests before 
committing diem, widi grave good-byes, to die care of God at die 
boundary pillars of their estates. In all diese households she could 
hear stories of political outrage; friends, relatives ruined, 
imprisoned, killed in die batdes of senseless civil wars, barbarously 
executed in ferocious proscriptions, as diough the government of 
die country had been a struggle of lust between bands of absurd 
devils let loose upon die land widi sabres and uniforms and 
grandiloquent phrases. And on all die lips she found a weary 
desire for peace, the dread of officialdom widi its nightmarish 
parody of administration widiout law, widiout security, and widiout 
justice. 

She bore a whole two months of wandering very well; she had 
diat power of resistance to fatigue which one discovers here and 
tiiere in some quite frail-looking women widi surprise— like a state 
of possession by a remarkably stubborn spirit. Don Pepe— die old 
Costaguana major— after much display of solicitude for die delicate 
lady, had ended by conferring upon her die name of die "Never- 
tired-Seiiora." Mrs. Gould was indeed becoming a Costaguanera. 
Having acquired in soudiern Europe a knowledge of true 
peasantry, she was able to appreciate die great wordi of die people. 
She saw die man under the silent, sad-eyed beast of burden. She 
saw diem on die road carrying loads, lonely figures upon die plain, 
toiling under great straw hats, widi dieir white clodiing flapping 
about dieir limbs in die wind; she remembered die villages by 
some group of Indian women at die fountain impressed upon her 
memory, by die face of some young Indian girl widi a melancholy 
and sensual profile, raising an eardienware vessel of cool water at 
die door of a dark hut widi a wooden porch cumbered widi great 
brown jars. The solid wooden wheels of an ox-cart, halted widi its 
shafts in die dust, showed die strokes of die axe, and a party of 
charcoal carriers, with each man's load resting above his head on 
die top of die low mud wall, slept stretched in a row widiin the 
strip of shade. 

The heavy stone -work of bridges and churches left by the 
conquerors proclaimed die disregard of human labor, the tribute- 
labor of vanished nations. The power of king and church was 
gone, but at die sight of some heavy ruinous pile overtopping from 
a knoll the low mud walls of a village, Don Pepe would interrupt 
the tale of his campaigns to exclaim: 

"Poor Costaguana! Before, it was everything for die padres, 
nodiing for die people; and now it is eveiydiing for diese great 
politicos in Sta. Marta, for negroes and diieves." 



Charles talked with the alcaldes, widi die fiscales, with the 
principal people in towns, and widi die cahalleros on die estates. 
The coniandantes of die districts offered him escorts— for he could 
show an audiorization from die Sulaco political chief of die day. 
How much die document had cost him in gold twenty-dollar 
pieces was a secret between himself, a great man in die United 
States (who condescended to answer the Sulaco mail widi his own 
hand), and a great man of another sort, widi a dark olive 
complexion and shifty eyes, inhabiting dien die palace of die 
Intendencia in Sulaco, and who piqued himself on his culture and 
Europeanism generally in a radier French style because he had 
lived in Europe for some years— in exile, he said. However, it was 
pretty well known diat just before this exile he had incautiously 
gambled away all die cash in die custom house of a small port 
where a friend in power had procured for him die post of sub- 
collector. That youtiiful indiscretion had, among odier 
inconveniences, obliged him to earn his living for a time as a cafe 
waiter in Madrid; but his talents must have been great, after all, 
since diey had enabled him to retrieve his political fortunes so 
splendidly. Charles Gould, exposing his business widi an 
imperturbable steadiness, called him Excellency. 

The provincial Excellency assumed a weary superiority, tilting 
his chair far back near an open window in die true Costaguana 
manner. The military band happened to be braying operatic 
selections on the plaza just dien, and twice he raised his hand 
imperatively for silence in order to listen to a favorite passage. 

"Exquisite, delicious!" he murmured; while Charles Gould 
waited, standing by widi inscrutable patience. "Lucia, Lucia di 
Lammermoor! I am passionate for music. It transports me. Ha! 
die divine— ha! Mozart. Si! divine . . . What is it you were saying?" 

Of course, rumors had reached him already of die new- 
comer's intentions. Besides, he had received an official warning 
from Sta. Marta. His manner was intended simply to conceal his 
curiosity and impress his visitor. But after he had locked up 
somediing valuable in die drawer of a large writing-desk in a distant 
part of die room, he became very affable, and walked back to his 
chair smardy. 

"If you intend to build villages and assemble a population near 
the mine, you shall require a decree of die Minister of die Interior 
for diat," he suggested in a business-like manner. 

"I have already sent a memorial," said Charles Gould, steadily, 
"and I reckon now confidendy upon your Excellency's favorable 
conclusions." 

The Excellency was a man of many moods. Widi die receipt 
of die money a great mellowness had descended upon his simple 
soul. Unexpectedly he fetched a deep sigh. 

"All, Don Carlos! What we want is advanced men like you in 



the province. The lethargy— the lethargy of these aristocrats! The 
want of public spirit! The absence of all enterprise! I, with my 
profound studies in Europe, you understand—" 

With one hand thrust into his swelling bosom, he rose and fell 
on his toes, and for ten minutes, almost without drawing breadi, 
went on hurling himself intellectually to the assault of Charles 
Gould's polite silence; and when, stopping abrupdy, he fell back 
into his chair, it was as diough he had been beaten off from a 
fortress. To save his dignity he hastened to dismiss this silent man 
with a solemn inclination of die head and die words, pronounced 
with moody, fatigued condescension: 

"You may depend upon my enlightened good will as long as 
your conduct as a good citizen deserves it." He took up a paper 
fan and began to cool himself with a consequential air, while 
Charles Gould bowed and withdrew. Then he dropped the fan at 
once, and stared with an appearance of wonder and perplexity at 
die closed door for quite a long time. At last he shrugged his 
shoulders as if to assure himself of his disdain. Cold, dull. No 
intellectuality. Red hair. A true Englishman. He despised him. 

His face darkened. What meant this unimpressed and frigid 
behavior? He was die first of die successive politicians sent out 
from die capital to rule die Occidental province whom die manner 
of Charles Gould in official intercourse was to strike as offensively 
independent. 

Charles Gould assumed that if die appearance of listening to 
deplorable balderdash must form part of die price he had to pay 
for being left unmolested, tire obligation of uttering balderdash 
personally was by no means included in die bargain. He drew tire 
line there. To these provincial autocrats, before whom die 
peaceable population of all classes had been accustonred to 
tremble, tire reserve of that English-looking engineer caused an 
uneasiness which swung to and fro between cringing and 
truculence. Gradually all of them discovered that, no nratter what 
party was in power, that nran remained in nrost effective touch with 
die higher authorities in Sta. Marta. 

This was a fact, and it accounted perfectly for tire Goulds being 
by no means so wealthy as tire engineer-in-chief of tire new railway 
could legitimately suppose. Following tire advice of Don Jose 
Avellanos, who was a nran of good counsel (though rendered timid 
by his horrible experiences of Guzman Bento's time), Charles 
Gould had kept clear of tire capital; but in tire current gossip of tire 
foreign residents there he was known (with a good deal of 
seriousness underlying the irony) by the nickname of "King of 
Sulaco." An advocate of tire Costaguana bar, a nran of reputed 
ability and good character, nrenrber of tire distinguished Moraga 
family possessing extensive estates in tire Sulaco Valley, was 
pointed out to strangers, with a shade of mystery and respect, as 



the agent of the San Tome mine— "political, you know." He was 
tall, black whiskered, and discreet. It was known that he had easy 
access to ministers, and that the numerous Costaguana generals 
were always anxious to dine at his house. Presidents granted him 
audience with facility. He corresponded actively widi his maternal 
uncle, Don Jose Avellanos; but his letters— unless diose expressing 
formally his dutiful affection— were seldom entrusted to die 
Costaguana post-office. There die envelopes are opened 
indiscriminately, widi die frankness of a brazen and childish 
impudence characteristic of some Spanish-American governments. 
But it must be noted diat at about die time of die re-opening of die 
San Tome mine die muleteer who had been employed by Charles 
Gould in his preliminary travels on die Campo added his small 
train of animals to die diin stream of traffic carried over die 
mountain passes between die Sta. Marta upland and die valley of 
Sulaco. There are no travelers by diat arduous and unsafe route 
unless under very exceptional circumstances, and die state of 
inland trade did not visibly require additional transport facilities; 
but the man seemed to find his account in it. A few packages were 
always found for him whenever he took die road. Very brown and 
wooden, in goat-skin breeches widi die hair outside, he sat near die 
tail of his own smart mule, his great hat turned against the sun, an 
expression of blissful vacancy on his long face, humming day after 
day a love-song in a plaintive key, or, widiout a change of 
expression, letting out a yell at his small tropilla in front. A round 
littie guitar hung high up on his back; and there was a place 
scooped out artistically in die wood of one of his pack-saddles 
where a tightly-rolled piece of paper could be slipped in, die 
wooden plug replaced, and die coarse canvas nailed on again. 
When in Sulaco it was his practice to smoke and doze all day long 
(as diough he had no care in the world) on a stone bench outside 
die doorway of die Casa Gould and facing die windows of die 
Avellanos house. Years and years ago his modier had been chief 
laundry woman in diat family— very accomplished in die matter of 
clear starching. He himself had been born on one of dieir 
haciendas. His name was Bonifacio, and Don Jose, crossing die 
street about five o'clock to call on Dona Emilia, always 
acknowledged his humble salute by some movement of hand or 
head. The porters of bodi houses conversed lazily with him in 
tones of grave intimacy. His evenings he devoted to gambling and 
to calls in a spirit of generous festivity upon die peyne d'oro girls in 
die more remote side -streets of die town. But he, too, was a 
discreet man. 



VIII 



THOSE of us whom business or curiosity took to Sulaco in these 
years before the first advent of die railway can remember the 
steadying effect of die San Tome mine upon die life of diat remote 
province. The outward appearances had not changed dien as diey 
have changed since, as I am told, widi cable -cars running along die 
Street of die Constitution, and carriage -roads far into die country, 
to Rincon and odier villages, where die foreign merchants and die 
Ricos generally have their modern villas, and a vast railway goods 
yard by die harbor, which has a quayside, a long range of 
warehouses, and quite serious organized labor troubles, of its own. 
Nobody had ever heard of labor troubles dien. The cargadores 
of die port formed, indeed, an unruly brodierhood of all sorts of 
scum, with a patron saint of dieir own. They went on strike 
regularly (every bull-fight day), a form of trouble that even 
Nostromo at die height of his prestige could never cope with 
efficiently; but die morning after each fiesta, before the Indian 
market women had opened dieir mat parasols on die plaza, when 
the snows of Higuerota gleamed pale over die town on a yet black 
sky, die appearance of a phantom-like horseman mounted on a 
silver gray mare solved die problem of labor widiout fail. His steed 
paced die lanes of die slums and die weed-grown enclosures within 
the old ramparts, between die black, lighdess clusters of huts, like 
cow byres, like dog kennels. The horseman hammered with the 
butt of a heavy revolver at die doors of low pulperias, of obscene 
lean-to sheds sloping against die tumbledown piece of a noble wall, 
at the wooden sides of dwellings so flimsy diat die sounds of 
snores and sleepy mutters within could be heard in die pauses of 
die diundering clatter of his blows. He called out men's names 
menacingly from die saddle, once, twice. The drowsy answers- 
grumpy, conciliating, savage, jocular, or deprecating— came out into 
the silent darkness in which die horseman sat still, and presendy a 
dark figure would flit out coughing in the still air. Sometimes a low- 
toned woman cried dirough die window hole softly, "He's coming 
directly, sefior," and die horseman waited silent on a motionless 
horse. But if perchance he had to dismount, dien, after a while, 
from die door of diat hovel or of diat pulperia, with a ferocious 
scuffle and stifled imprecations, a cargador would fly out head first 
and hands abroad, to sprawl under die forelegs of the silver-gray 
mare, who only pricked forward her sharp littie ears. She was used 
to that work; and die man, picking himself up, would walk away 
hastily from Nostromo's revolver, reeling a little along die street 
and snarling low curses. At sunrise Captain Mitchell, coming out 
anxiously in his night attire on to die w r ooden balcony running die 
whole lengdi of die O.S.N. Company's lonely building by die 
shore, w r ould see die lighters already under way, figures moving 



busily about die cargo cranes, perhaps hear the invaluable 
Nostromo, now dismounted and in die checked shirt and red sash 
of a Mediterranean sailor, bawling orders from die end of die jetty 
in a stentorian voice. A fellow in a thousand! 

The material apparatus of perfected civilization which 
obliterates die individuality of old towns under die stereotyped 
conveniences of modern life had not intruded as yet: but over die 
worn out antiquity of Sulaco, so characteristic widi its stuccoed 
houses and barred windows, with die great yellowy-white walls of 
abandoned convents behind die rows of sombre green cypresses, 
diat fact— very modern in its spirit— die San Tome mine had 
already dirown its subtie influence. It had altered, too, die outward 
character of die crowds on feast days on die plaza before die open 
portal of die cadiedral, by die number of white ponchos with a 
green stripe affected as holiday wear by the San Tome miners. 
They had also adopted white hats with green cord and braid- 
articles of good quality, which could be obtained in die storehouse 
of die administration for very little money. A peaceable Chulo 
wearing diese colors (unusual in Costaguana) was somehow very 
seldom beaten to within an inch of his life on a charge of 
disrespect to die town police; neidier ran he much risk of being 
suddenly lassoed on die road by a recruiting party of lanceros— a 
method of voluntary enlistment looked upon as almost legal in die 
republic. Whole villages were known to have volunteered for the 
army in diat way; but, as Don Pepe would say with a hopeless 
shrug to Mrs. Gould, "What would you! Poor people. Pobrecitos! 
But die state must have its soldiers." 

Thus professionally spoke Don Pepe, the fighter, with pendent 
mustaches, a nut brown, lean face, and a clean run of a cast-iron 
jaw, suggesting the type of a catde-herd horseman from die great 
Llanos of die soudi. "If you will listen to an old officer of Paez, 
seiiores," was die exordium of all his speeches in die aristocratic 
club of Sulaco, where he was admitted on account of his past 
sendees to die extinct cause of Federation. The club, dating from 
die days of die proclamation of Costaguana's independence, 
boasted many names of liberators among its first founders. 
Suppressed arbitrarily innumerable times by various governments, 
with memories of proscriptions and of at least one wholesale 
massacre of its members, sadly assembled for a banquet by the 
order of a zealous military comandante (dieir bodies were 
afterwards stripped naked and flung into die plaza out of die 
windows by die lowest scum of die populace), it was again 
flourishing, at diat period, peacefully. It extended to strangers die 
large hospitality of die cool, big rooms of its historic quarters in die 
front part of a house, once die residence of a high official of die 
Holy Office. The two wings, shut up, crumbled behind die nailed 
doors, and what may be described as a grove of young orange trees 



grown in die unpaved patio concealed die utter ruin of die back 
part facing die gate. You turned in from die street, as if entering a 
secluded orchard, where you came upon die foot of a disjointed 
staircase, guarded by a moss stained effigy of some saindy bishop, 
mitred and staffed, and bearing die indignity of a broken nose 
meekly, widi his fine stone hands crossed on his breast. The 
chocolate colored faces of servants widi mops of black hair peeped 
at you from above; die click of billiard balls came to your ears, 
and, ascending die steps, you would perhaps see in die first sala, 
very stiff upon a straight backed chair, in a good light, Don Pepe 
moving his long mustaches as he spelled his way, at arm's length, 
through an old Sta. Marta newspaper. His horse— a stonyhearted 
but persevering black brute widi a hammer head— you would have 
seen in the street, dozing motionless under an immense saddle, 
widi its nose almost touching die curbstone of die sidewalk 

Don Pepe, when "down from die mountain," as die phrase, 
often heard in Sulaco went, could also be seen in die drawing 
room of die Casa Gould. He sat widi modest assurance at some 
distance from die tea table. Widi his knees close togedier, and a 
kindly twinkle of drollery in his deep set eyes, he would dirow his 
small and ironic pleasantries into die current of conversation. 
There was in diat man a sort of sane, humorous shrewdness, and a 
vein of genuine humanity so often found in simple old soldiers of 
proved courage who have seen much desperate service. Of course, 
he knew nodiing whatever of mining, but his employment was of a 
special kind. He was in charge of die whole population in the 
territory of die mine, which extended from die head of die gorge 
to where die cart track from die foot of the mountain enters the 
plain, crossing a stream over a little wooden bridge painted green- 
green, die color of hope, being also the color of the mine. 

It was reported in Sulaco diat up diere "at die mountain" Don 
Pepe walked about precipitous padis, girt widi a great sword and in 
a shabby uniform widi tarnished bullion epaulets of a senior major. 
Most miners being Indians, widi big wild eyes, addressed him as 
Taita (fadier), as diese barefooted people of Costaguana will 
address anybody who wears shoes; but it was Basilio, Mr. Gould's 
own mozo and the head servant of die casa, who in all good faith 
and from a sense of propriety announced him once in the solemn 
words, "El Sefior Gobernador has arrived." 

Don Jose Avellanos, dien in die drawing room, was delighted 
beyond measure at die aptness of die title, widi which he greeted 
die old major banteringly as soon as the latter's soldierly figure 
appeared in die doorway. Don Pepe only smiled in his long 
mustaches, as much as to say, "You might have found a worse 
name for an old solider." 

And El Seiior Gobernador he had remained, widi his small 
jokes upon his function and upon his domain, where he affirmed 



with humorous exaggeration to Mrs. Gould: 

"No two stones could come together anywhere without the 
Gohernador hearing tire click, senora." 

And he would tap his ear with the tip of his forefinger 
knowingly. Even when tire nunrher of the nriners alone rose to 
over six hundred he seenred to know each of them individually, all 
tire innumerahle Joses, Manuels, Ignacios, from the villages 
prinrero, segundo, or tercero (there were three mining villages) 
under his government. He could distinguish them not only by their 
flat, joyless faces, which to Mrs. Gould looked all alike, as if run 
into tire same ancestral nrould of suffering and patience, but 
apparently also by tire infinitely graduated shades of reddish 
brown, of blackish brown, of coppery brown backs, as tire two 
shifts, stripped to linen drawers and leather skullcaps, nringled 
together with a confusion of naked linrbs, of shouldered picks, 
swinging lamps, in a great shuffle of sandaled feet on tire open 
plateau before tire entrance of tire main tunnel. It was a time of 
pause. The Indian boys leaned idly against tire long line of little 
cradle wagons standing empty; tire screeners and ore breakers 
squatted on their heels smoking long cigars; the great wooden 
shoots slanting over tire edge of tire tunnel plateau were silent; and 
only tire ceaseless, violent rush of water in the open flumes could 
be heard, nrurnruring fiercely, with tire splash and rumble of 
revolving turbine wheels, and tire thudding march of tire stamps 
pounding to powder tire treasure rock on tire plateau below. The 
heads of gangs, distinguished by brass medals hanging on their 
bare breasts, marshaled their squads; and at last the mountain 
would swallow one half of tire silent crowd, while tire other half 
would move off in long files down tire zigzag paths leading to tire 
bottom of tire gorge. It was deep; and, far below a thread of 
vegetation winding between tire blazing rock faces, resenrbled a 
slender green cord, in which three lumpy knots of banana patches, 
palm leaf roots, and shady trees nrarked tire Village One, Village 
Two, Village Three, housing tire nriners of tire Gould Concession. 

Whole families had been moving from tire first towards the 
spot in tire Higuerota range, whence tire runror of work and safety 
had spread over tire pastoral Canrpo, forcing its way also, even as 
tire waters of a high flood, into tire nooks and crannies of tire 
distant blue walls of tire Sierras. Father first, in a pointed straw hat, 
then tire mother with tire bigger children, generally also a 
diminutive donkey, all under burdens except tire leader himself, or 
perhaps sonre grown girl, tire pride of the family, stepping 
barefooted and straight as an arrow, with braids of raven hair, a 
thick, haughty profile, and no load to carry but tire snrall guitar of 
tire country and a pair of soft leather sandals tied together on her 
back. At tire sight of such parties strung out on the cross trails 
between the pastures, or camped by the side of tire royal road, 



travelers on horseback would remark to each other: 

"More people going to the San Tome mine. We shall see 
others tomorrow." 

And spurring on in die dusk diey would discuss die great news 
of the province, die news of die San Tome mine. A rich 
Englishman was going to work it— and perhaps not an Englishman, 
Quien sabe! A foreigner widi much money. Oh yes, it had begun. 
A party of men who had been to Sulaco widi a herd of black bulls 
for die next corrida had reported that from die porch of die 
posada in Rincon, only a short league from die town, die lights on 
die mountain were visible, twinkling above die trees. And diere 
was a woman seen riding a horse sideways, not in die chair seat, 
but upon a sort of saddle, and a man's hat on her head. She 
walked about, too, on foot up die mountain padis. A woman 
engineer, it seemed she was. 

"What an absurdity! Impossible, sehor!" 

"Si! Si! Una Americana del Norte." 

"All, well! if your worship is informed. Una America: it need 
be somediing of diat sort." 

And diey would laugh a litde widi astonishment and scorn, 
keeping a wary eye on die shadows of die road, for one is liable to 
meet bad men when travelling late on die Campo. 

And it was not only die men diat Don Pepe knew so well, but 
he seemed able, widi one attentive, dioughtiul glance, to classify 
each woman, girl, or growing youdi of his domain. It was only die 
small fry diat puzzled him sometimes. He and die padre could be 
seen frequendy side by side, meditative and gazing across die street 
of a village at a lot of sedate brown children, trying to sort diem 
out, as it were, in low, consulting tones, or else diey would togedier 
put searching questions as to die parentage of some small, staid 
urchin met wandering, naked and grave, along die road widi a cigar 
in his baby moudi, and perhaps his modier's rosary, purloined for 
purposes of ornamentation, hanging in a loop of beads low down 
on his rotund litde stomach. The spiritual and temporal pastors of 
the mine flock were very good friends. Widi Dr. Monygham, die 
medical pastor, who had accepted die charge from Mrs. Gould, 
and lived in die hospital building, diey were on not so intimate 
terms. But no one could be on intimate terms widi El Sefior 
Doctor, who, widi his twisted shoulders, drooping head, sardonic 
moudi, and sidelong bitter glance, was mysterious and uncanny. 
The odier two audiorities worked in harmony. Eadier Roman, 
dried up, small, alert, wrinkled, widi big round eyes, a sharp chin, 
and a great snuff taker, was an old campaigner, too; he had shriven 
many simple souls on die batdefields of the republic, kneeling by 
die dying on hillsides, in die long grass, in die gloom of die forests, 
to hear the last confession widi die smell of gunpowder smoke in 
his nostrils, die rattie of muskets, die hum and spatter of bullets in 



his ears. And where was die harm if, at die presbytery, diey had a 
game with a pack of greasy cards in die early evening, before Don 
Pepe went his last rounds to see diat all die watchmen of die 
mine— a body organized by himself— were at dieir posts? For diat 
last duty before he slept Don Pepe did actually gird his old sword 
on die veranda of an unmistakable American white frame house, 
which Fadier Roman called die presbytery. Near by, a long, low, 
dark building, steeple-roofed, like a vast barn, with a wooden cross 
over die gable, was die miners' chapel. There Fadier Roman said 
mass every day before a sombre altar piece representing the 
Resurrection, die gray slab of die tombstone balanced on one 
corner, a figure soaring upward, longdimbed and livid, in an oval 
of pallid light, and a helmeted brown legionary smitten down, right 
across die bituminous foreground. "This picture, my children, 
muy linda e maravillosa" Fadier Roman would say to some of his 
flock, "which you behold here dirough die munificence of die wife 
of our Senor Administrador, has been painted in Europe, a 
country of saints and miracles, and much greater dian our 
Costaguana." And he would take a pinch of snuff with unction. But 
when once an inquisitive spirit desired to know in what direction 
diis Europe was situated, whether up or down die coast, Fadier 
Roman, to conceal his perplexity, became very reserved and 
severe. "No doubt it is extremely far away. But ignorant sinners 
like you of die San Tome mine should diink earnesdy of 
everlasting punishment instead of inquiring into die magnitude of 
die earth, widi its countries and populations altogether beyond 
your understanding." Widi a "Goodnight, padre;" "goodnight, 
Don Pepe," die Gobernador would go off, holding up his sabre 
against his side, his body bent forward, widi a long, plodding stride, 
in die dark. The jocularity proper to an innocent card game for a 
few cigars or a bundle of yerba was replaced at once by die stern 
duty mood of an officer setting out to visit die outposts of an 
encamped army. One loud blast of die whisde diat hung from his 
neck provoked instantiy a great shrilling of responding whisties, 
mingled widi die barking of dogs, that would calm down slowly at 
last, away up at die head of die gorge; and in die stillness two 
serenos, on guard by die bridge, would appear walking noiselessly 
towards him. On one side of die road a long frame building— die 
store— would be closed and barricaded from end to end; facing it 
anodier white frame house, still longer, and widi a veranda— the 
hospital— would have lights in die two windows of Dr. Monygham's 
quarters. Even die delicate foliage of a clump of peppertrees did 
not stir, so breadiless would be die darkness warmed by die 
radiation of the overheated rocks. Don Pepe would stand still for a 
moment widi die two motionless serenos before him, and, 
abruptiy, high up on die sheer face of die mountain, dotted widi 
single torches, like drops of fire fallen from die two great blazing 



clusters of lights above, the ore shoots would begin to rattle. The 
great clattering, shuffling noise, gathering speed and weight, would 
be caught up by the walls of die gorge, and sent upon die plain in a 
growl of diunder. The posadero in Rincon swore diat on calm 
nights, by listening intendy, he could catch die sound in his 
doorway as of a storm in die mountains. 

To Charles Gould's fancy it seemed diat die sound must reach 
die uttermost limits of the province. Riding at night towards the 
mine, it would meet him at die edge of a little wood just beyond 
Rincon. There was no mistaking the growling mutter of die 
mountain pouring its stream of treasure under die stamps; and it 
came to his heart widi die peculiar force of a proclamation 
thundered fordi over die land and die marvelousness of an 
accomplished fact fulfilling an audacious desire. He had heard diis 
very sound in his imagination on diat far off evening when his wife 
and himself, after a tortuous ride through a strip of forest, had 
reined in dieir horses near die stream, and had gazed for die first 
time upon die jungle -grown solitude of the gorge. The head of a 
palm rose here and diere. In a high ravine round the corner of die 
San Tome mountain (which is square, like a blockhouse) the 
diread of a slender waterfall flashed bright and glassy dirough die 
dark green of die heavy fronds of tree ferns. Don Pepe, in 
attendance, rode up, and, stretching his arm up the gorge, had 
declared widi mock solemnity, "Behold die very paradise of 
snakes, senora." 

And tiien diey had wheeled dieir horses and ridden back to 
sleep diat night at Rincon. The alcalde— an old, skinny Moreno, a 
sergeant of Guzman Bento's time— had cleared respectfully out of 
his house widi his diree pretty daughters, to make room for die 
foreign senora and dieir worships die caballeros. All he asked 
Charles Gould (whom he took for a mysterious and official 
person) to do for him was to remind die supreme government— El 
Gobierno supremo— of a pension (amounting to about a dollar a 
month) to which he believed himself entitled. It had been 
promised to him, he affirmed, straightening his bent back 
martially, "many years ago, for my valor in die wars widi die wild 
Indios when a young man, senor." 

The waterfall existed no longer. The tree ferns diat had 
luxuriated in its spray had dried around die dried up pool, and die 
high ravine was only a big trench half filled up widi die refuse of 
excavations and tailings. The torrent, dammed up above, sent its 
water rushing along die open flumes of scooped tree trunks 
striding on trestie legs to die turbines working die stamps on die 
lower plateau— die mesa grande of die San Tome mountain. Only 
the memory of the waterfall widi its amazing fernery, like a hanging 
garden above die rocks of die gorge, was preserved in Mrs. 
Gould's watercolor sketch; she had made it hastily one day from a 



cleared patch in the bushes, sitting in the shade of a roof of straw 
erected for her on three rough poles under Don Pepe's direction. 

Mrs. Gould had seen it all from the beginning; the clearing of 
the wilderness, the making of tire road, the cutting of new paths up 
the cliff face of San Tome. For weeks together she had lived on 
the spot with her husband; and she was so little in Sulaco during 
that year that the appearance of the Gould carriage on the 
Alameda would cause a social excitement. From the heavy family 
coaches full of stately senoras and blackeyed senoritas, rolling 
solemnly in the shaded alley, white hands were waved towards her 
with animation in a flutter of greetings. Dona Fmilia was "down 
from the mountain." 

But not for long. Dona Emilia would be gone "up to the 
mountain" in a day or two, and her sleek carriage mules would 
have an easy time of it for another long spell. She had watched the 
erection of the first frame house put up on the lower mesa for an 
office and Don Pepe's quarters; she heard with a thrill of thankful 
emotion the first wagonload of ore rattle down the then only shoot; 
she had stood by her husband's side perfectly silent, and gone cold 
all over with excitement at the instant when the first battery of only 
fifteen stamps was put in motion for the first time. On the occasion 
when the fires under the first set of retorts in their shed had 
glowed far into the night she did not retire to rest on the rough 
cadre set up for her in the as yet bare frame house till she had seen 
the first spongy lump of silver yielded to the hazards of the world 
by the dark depths of the Gould Concession; she had laid her 
unmercenary hands, with an eagerness that made them tremble, 
upon the first silver ingot turned out still warm from the mould; 
and by her imaginative estimate of its power she endowed that 
lump of metal with a justificative conception, as though it were not 
a mere fact, but some tiling far-reaching and impalpable, like the 
true expression of an emotion or the emergence of a principle. 

Don Pepe, extremely interested, too, looked over her shoulder 
with a smile that, making longitudinal folds on his face, caused it to 
resemble a leathern mask with a benignantly diabolic expression. 

"Would not the muchachos of Hernandez like to get hold of 
this insignificant object, that looks, por Dios, very much like a 
piece of tin?" he remarked jocularly. 

Hernandez, the robber, had been an inoffensive, small 
ranchero, kidnapped with circumstances of peculiar atrocity from 
his home during one of the civil wars, and forced to serve in the 
army. There his conduct as soldier was exemplary, till, watching 
his chance, he killed his colonel, and managed to get clear away. 
With a band of deserters, who chose him for their chief, he had 
taken refuge beyond the wild and waterless Bolson de Tonoro. 
The haciendas paid him blackmail in cattle and horses; 
extraordinary stories were told of his powers and of his wonderful 



escapes from capture. He used to ride, siuglehanded, into the 
villages and the little towns on die Campo, driving a pack mule 
before him, widi two revolvers in his belt, go straight to die shop or 
store, select what he wanted, and ride away unopposed because of 
die terror his exploits and his audacity inspired. Poor country 
people he usually left alone; die upper class were often stopped on 
die roads and robbed; but any unlucky official that fell into his 
hands was sure to get a severe flogging. The army officers did not 
like his name to be mentioned in their presence. His followers, 
mounted on stolen horses, laughed at die pursuit of die regular 
cavalry sent to hunt diem down, and whom diey took pleasure to 
ambush most scientifically in the broken ground of their own 
fastness. Expeditions had been fitted out; a price had been put 
upon his head; even attempts had been made, treacherously of 
course, to open negotiations with him, widiout in die slightest way 
affecting die even tenor of his career, At last, in true Costaguana 
fashion, die fiscal of Tonoro, who was ambitious of die glory of 
having reduced die famous Hernandez, offered him a sum of 
money and a safe conduct out of die country for die betrayal of his 
band. But Hernandez evidendy was not of the stuff of which the 
distinguished military politicians and conspirators of Costaguana 
are made. This clever but common device (which frequendy works 
like a charm in putting down revolutions) failed with die chief of 
vulgar salteadores. It promised well for die fiscal at first, but ended 
very badly for the squadron of lanceros posted (by the fiscal's 
directions) in a fold of die ground into which Hernandez had 
promised to lead his unsuspecting followers. They came, indeed, 
at the appointed time, but creeping on dieir hands and knees 
tiirough die bush, and only let dieir presence be known by a 
general discharge of firearms, which emptied many saddles. The 
troopers who escaped came riding very hard into Tonoro. It is said 
that dieir commanding officer (who, being better mounted, rode 
far ahead of the rest) afterwards got into a state of despairing 
intoxication and beat die ambitious fiscal severely widi the flat of 
his sabre in die presence of his wife and daughters, for bringing 
diis disgrace upon die national army. The highest civil official of 
Tonoro, falling to die ground in a swoon, was furdier kicked all 
over die body and rowelled widi sharp spurs about the neck and 
face because of die great sensitiveness of his military colleague. 
This gossip of die inland Campo, so characteristic of die rulers of 
die country widi its story of oppression, inefficiency, fatuous 
mediods, treachery, and savage brutality, was perfecdy known to 
Mrs. Gould. That it should be accepted with no indignant 
comment by people of intelligence, refinement, and character, as 
somediing inherent in die nature of tilings, was one of die 
symptoms of degradation diat had die power to exasperate her 
almost to die verge of despair. Still, looking at die ingot of silver, 



she shook her head at Don Pepe's remark: 

"If it had not heen for the lawless tyranny of your government, 
Don Pepe, many an oudaw now widi Hernandez would he living 
peaceahle and happy hy the honest work of his hands." 

"Sehora," cried Don Pepe, widi endiusiasm, "it is true! It is as 
if God had given you the power to look into the very hreasts of 
people. You have seen them working round you, Doha Emilia- 
meek as lambs, patient like their own burros, brave like lions. I 
have led them to die very muzzles of guns— I, who stand here 
before you, sehora— in die time of Paez, who was full of generosity, 
and in courage only approached by die uncle of Don Carlos here, 
as far as I know. No wonder there are bandits in the Campo when 
there are none but thieves, swindlers, and sanguinary macaques to 
rule us in Sta. Marta. However, all die same, a bandit is a bandit, 
and we shall have a dozen good straight Winchesters to ride with 
the silver down to Sulaco." 

Mrs. Gould's ride with die first silver escort to Sulaco was the 
closing episode of what she called "my camp life" before she had 
settled in her townhouse permanently, as was proper and even 
necessary for the wife of die administrator of such an important 
institution as die San Tome mine. For the San Tome mine was to 
become an institution, a rallying point for everything in the 
province that needed order and stability to live. Security seemed to 
flow upon this land from die mountain gorge. The authorities of 
Sulaco had learned that the San Tome mine could make it worth 
their while to leave firings and people alone. This was the nearest 
approach to die rule of common sense and justice Charles Gould 
felt it possible to secure at first. In fact, die mine, with its 
organization, its population growing fiercely attached to dieir 
position of privileged safety, widi its armory, widi its Don Pepe, 
widi its armed body of serenos (where, it was said, many an oudaw 
and deserter— and even some members of Hernandez's band— had 
found a place), die mine was a power in die land. As a certain 
prominent man in Sta. Marta had exclaimed widi a hollow laugh, 
once, when discussing die line of action taken by die Sulaco 
audiorities at a time of political crisis: "You call diese men 
government officials? They? Never! They are officials of die 
mine— officials of die Concession— I tell you." 

The prominent man (who was dien a person in power, widi a 
lemon colored face and a very short and curly, not to say woolly, 
head of hair) went so far in his temporary discontent as to shake 
his yellow fist under die nose of his interlocutor, and shriek: 

"Yes, all! Silence! All, I tell you! The political jefe, the chief of 
the police, the chief of die customs, die general, all, all, are the 
officials of that Gould!" 

Thereupon an intrepid but low and argumentative murmur 
would flow on for a space in die ministerial cabinet, and die 



prominent man's passion would end in a cynical shrug of the 
shoulders. After all, he seemed to say, what did it matter as long as 
die minister himself was not forgotten during his hrief day of 
audiority. But all die same, die unofficial agent of die San Tome 
mine, working for a good cause, had his moments of anxiety, 
which were reflected in his letters to Don Jose Avellanos, his 
maternal uncle. 

"No sanguinary macaque from Sta. Marta shall set foot on diat 
part of Costaguana which lies beyond die San Tome bridge," Don 
Pepe used to assure Mrs. Gould. "Except, of course, as an 
honored guest— for our Sehor Administrador is a deep politico." 
But to Charles Gould, in his own room, die old major would 
remark with a grim and soldierly cheeriness, "We are all playing 
our heads at this game." 

Don Jose Avellanos would mutter "Imperium in imperio, 
Emilia, my soul," with an air of profound self satisfaction which, 
somehow, in a curious way, seemed to contain a queer admixture 
of bodily discomfort. But that, perhaps, could only be visible to the 
initiated. 

And for die initiated it was a wonderful place, this drawing 
room of die Casa Gould, with its momentary glimpses of the 
master— El Sefior Administrador— older, harder, mysteriously 
silent, with the lines deepened on his English, ruddy, out-of-doors 
complexion; flitting on his thin, cavalryman's legs across the 
doorways, either just "back from the mountain," or, with jingling 
spurs and riding whip under his arm, on the point of starting "for 
the mountain." Then Don Pepe, modestly martial in his chair, the 
Llanero who seemed somehow to have found his martial 
jocularity, his knowledge of die world, and his manner perfect for 
his station, in the midst of savage armed contests with his kind; 
Avellanos, polished and familiar, die diplomatist with his loquacity 
covering much caution and wisdom in delicate advice, with his 
manuscript of a historical work on Costaguana, entitled Fifty Years 
of Misrule, which, at present, he diought it was not prudent (even 
if it were possible) "to give to die world"; these diree, and also 
Dona Emilia among diem, gracious, small, and fairy-like, before 
the glittering tea set, with one common master diought in dieir 
heads, with one common feeling of a tense situation, with one ever 
present aim to preserve die inviolable character of die mine at 
every cost. And there was also to be seen Captain Mitchell, a littie 
apart, near one of die long windows, with an air of old fashioned 
neat old bachelorhood about him, slighdy pompous, in a white 
waistcoat, a little disregarded and unconscious of it; utterly in the 
dark, and imagining himself to be in die diick of things. The good 
man, having spent a clear thirty years of his life on die high seas 
before getting what he called a "shore billet," was astonished at die 
importance of transactions (odiers dian relating to shipping) which 



take place on dry land. Almost every event out of die usual daily 
course "marked an epoch" for him or else was "history"; unless 
widi his pomposity struggling widi a discomfited droop his 
rubicund, radier handsome face, set off hy snow white close hair 
and short whiskers, he would mutter: 

"All, diat! That, sir, was a mistake." 

The reception of die first consignment of San Tome silver for 
shipment to San Francisco in one of die O.S.N. Company's mail 
boats had, of course, marked an epoch" for Captain Mitchell. The 
ingots packed in boxes of stiff ox hide with plaited handles, small 
enough to be carried easily by two men, were brought down by die 
serenos of die mine walking in careful couples down die half mile 
or so of steep, zigzag paths to die foot of the mountain. There diey 
would be loaded into a string of two-wheeled carts, resembling 
roomy coffers widi a door at die back, and harnessed tandem widi 
two mules each, waiting under the guard of armed and mounted 
serenos. Don Pepe padlocked each door in succession, and at die 
signal of his whistie die string of carts would move off, closely 
surrounded by die clank of spur and carbine, widi jolts and 
cracking of whips, widi a sudden deep rumble over die boundary 
bridge ("into die land of diieves and sanguinary macaques," Don 
Pepe defined diat crossing); hats bobbing in die first light of die 
dawn, on die heads of cloaked figures; Winchesters on hip; bridle 
hands protruding lean and brown from under the falling folds of 
the ponchos. The convoy skirting a little wood, along die mine 
trail, between die mud huts and low walls of Rincon, increased its 
pace on die Camino Real, mules urged to speed, escort galloping, 
Don Carlos riding alone ahead of a dust storm, affording a vague 
vision of long ears of mules, of fluttering littie green and white flags 
stuck upon each cart, of raised arms in a mob of sombreros widi 
die white gleam of ranging eyes; and Don Pepe, hardly visible in 
die rear of that rattiing dust trail, widi a stiff seat and impassive 
face, rising and falling rhythmically on a ewe -necked silver-bitted 
black brute widi a hammer head. 

The sleepy people in die littie clusters of huts, in the small 
ranchos near die road, recognized by die headlong sound the 
charge of [die] San Tome silver escort towards die crumbling wall 
of die city on die Campo side. They came to die doors to see it 
dash by over ruts and stones, widi a clatter and clank and cracking 
of whips, widi die reckless rush and precise driving of a field 
battery hurrying into action, and die solitary English figure of die 
Seiior Administrador riding far ahead in die lead. 

In die fenced roadside paddocks loose horses galloped wildly 
for a while; die heavy cattie stood up breast deep in die grass, 
lowing mutteringly at die flying noise; a meek Indian villager would 
glance back once and hasten to shove his loaded littie donkey 
bodily against a wall, out of the way of die San Tome silver escort 



going to the sea; a small knot of chill)' leperos under the Stone 
Horse or the Alameda would nrutter: "Caramha!" on seeing it take 
a wide curve at a gallop and dart into the empty Street of the 
Constitution; for it was considered the correct thing, the only 
proper style hy the nrule drivers of the San Tome mine, to go 
through the waking town from end to end without a check in the 
speed, as if chased by a devil. 

The early sunshine glowed on the delicate prinrrose, pale pink, 
pale blue fronts of the big houses with all their gates shut, yet, and 
no face behind the iron bars of the windows In the whole sunlit 
range of empty balconies along the street only one white figure 
would be visible high up above the clear pavement— the wife of the 
Senor Administrador— leaning over to see tire escort go by to the 
harbor, a nrass of heavy fair hair twisted up negligently on her little 
head, and a lot of lace about tire neck of her muslin wrapper. With 
a snrile to her husband's single, quick, upward glance, she would 
watch tire whole tiring stream past below her feet with air orderly 
uproar, till she answered by a friendly sign tire salute of tire 
galloping Don Pepe, tire stiff, deferential inclination with a sweep 
of tire hat below tire knee. 

The string of padlocked carts lengthened, tire size of tire escort 
grew bigger as tire years went on. Every three months air increasing 
stream of treasure swept through tire streets of Sulaco on its way to 
the strong roonr in tire O.S.N. Company's building by tire harbor, 
there to await shipment for tire north. Increasing in volume, and of 
immense value also; for, as Charles Gould told his wife once with 
sonre exultation, there had never been seen anything in tire world 
to approach tire vein of tire Gould Concession. For them both, 
each passing of the escort under tire balconies of tire Casa Gould 
was like another victory gained in tire conquest of peace for 
Sulaco. 

No doubt tire initial action of Charles Gould had been helped 
at tire beginning by a period of comparative peace which occurred 
just about that time; and also by tire general softening of nranners 
as compared with tire epoch of civil wars whence had enrerged the 
iron tyranny of Guzman Bento of fearful memory. In tire contests 
that broke out at tire end of his rule (which had kept peace in tire 
country for a whole fifteen years) there was nrore fatuous 
imbecility, plenty of cruelty and suffering still, but much less of tire 
old time fierce and blind ferocious political fanaticism. It was all 
nrore vile, nrore base, nrore contemptible, and infinitely nrore 
manageable in the very outspoken cynicism of motives. It was 
nrore clearly a brazenfaced scranrble for a constantly diminishing 
quantity of booty, since all enterprise had been stupidly killed in 
tire land. Thus it came to pass that the province of Sulaco, once 
the field of cruel party vengeances, had beconre in a way one of 
tire considerable prizes of political career. The great of tire earth 



(in Sta. Marta) reserved die posts in die old Occidental state to 
diose nearest and dearest to diem: nephews, brothers, husbands of 
favorite sisters, bosom friends, trusty supporters— or prominent 
supporters of whom perhaps die)' were afraid. It was die blessed 
province of great opportunities and of largest salaries; for die San 
Tome mine had its own unofficial pay list, whose items and 
amounts, fixed in consultation by Charles Gould and Senor 
Avellanos, were known to a prominent business man in the United 
States, who for twenty minutes or so in every mondi gave his 
undivided attention to Sulaco affairs. At die same time die material 
interests of all sorts, backed up by die influence of die San Tome 
mine, were quietly gadiering substance in that part of die republic. 
If, for instance, die Sulaco collectorship was generally understood, 
in die political world of die capital, to open the way to die Ministry 
of Finance, and so on for every official post, dien, on the other 
hand, die despondent business circles of die republic had come to 
consider die Occidental Province as die promised land of safety, 
especially if a man managed to get on good terms with the 
administration of die mine. "Charles Gould; excellent fellow! 
Absolutely necessary to make sure of him before taking a single 
step. Get an introduction to him from Moraga if you can— die 
agent of the King of Sulaco, don't you know." 

No wonder, dien, diat Sir John, coming from Europe to 
smoodi die padi for his railway, had been meeting die name (and 
even die nickname) of Charles Gould at every turn in Costaguana. 
The agent of die San Tome administration in Sta. Marta (a 
polished, well-informed gendeman, Sir John thought him) had 
certainly helped so greatiy in bringing about die presidential tour 
diat he began to diink diat diere was something in die faint 
whispers hinting at die immense occult influence of die Gould 
Concession. What was currendy whispered was this— diat die San 
Tome administration had, in part, at least, financed die last 
revolution, which had brought into a five year dictatorship Don 
Vincente Ribiera, a man of culture and of unblemished character, 
invested widi a mandate of reform by die best elements of die 
state. Serious, well-informed men seemed to believe the fact, to 
hope for better tilings, for the establishment of legality, of good 
faidi and order in public life. So much die better, dien, diought Sir 
John. He worked always on a great scale; there was a loan to die 
state, and a project for systematic colonization of die Occidental 
Province, involved in one vast scheme widi die construction of die 
National Central Railway. Good faidi, order, honesty, peace, were 
badly wanted for diis great development of material interests. 
Anybody on die side of these things, and especially if able to help, 
had an importance in Sir John's eyes. He had not been 
disappointed in the "King of Sulaco." The local difficulties had 
fallen away, as die engineer-in-chief had foretold diey would, 



before Charles Gould's mediation. Sir John had been extremely 
feted in Sulaco, next to the President-Dictator, a fact which might 
have accounted for the evident ill humor General Montero 
displayed at lunch, given on board the Juno just before she was to 
sail, taking away from Sulaco die President-Dictator and the 
distinguished foreign guests in his train. 

The Excellentissimo ("die hope of honest men," as Don Jose 
had addressed him in a public speech delivered in die name of the 
Provincial Assembly of Sulaco) sat at die head of die long table; 
Captain Mitchell, positively stony-eyed and purple in die face widi 
die solemnity of diis "historical event," occupied die foot as the 
representative of die O.S.N. Company in Sulaco, the hosts of diat 
informal function, widi die captain of die ship and some minor 
officials from die shore around him. Those cheery, swarthy little 
gendemen cast jovial side glances at die bottles of champagne 
beginning to pop behind die guests' backs in die hands of die 
ship's stewards. The amber wine creamed up to die rims of die 
glasses. 

Charles Gould had his place next to a foreign envoy, who in a 
listiess undertone had been talking to him fitfully of hunting and 
shooting. The well nourished, pale face, with an eyeglass and 
drooping yellow mustache, made the Sehor Administrador appear 
by contrast twice as sun baked, more flaming red, a hundred times 
more intensely and silently alive. Don Jose Avellanos touched 
elbows with die other foreign diplomat, a dark man with a quiet, 
watchful, self confident demeanor and a touch of reserve. All 
etiquette being laid aside on die occasion, General Montero was 
die only one there in full uniform, so stiff with embroideries in 
front that his broad chest seemed protected by a cuirass of gold. 
Sir John at die beginning had got away from high places for the 
sake of sitting near Mrs. Gould. 

The great financier was trying to express to her his grateful 
sense of her hospitality and of his obligation to her husband's 
"enormous influence in this part of die country," when she 
interrupted him by a low "Hush!" The President was going to 
make an informal pronouncement. 

The Excellentissimo was on his legs. He said only a few words, 
evidently deeply felt, and meant perhaps mostly for Avellanos— his 
old friend— as to die necessity of unremitting effort to secure the 
lasting welfare of die country emerging after this last struggle, he 
hoped, into a period of peace and material prosperity. 

Mrs. Gould, listening to die mellow, slightly mournful voice, 
looking at this rotund, dark, spectacled face, at the short body, 
obese to the point of infirmity, thought that this man of delicate 
and melancholy mind, physically almost a cripple, coming out of 
his retirement into a dangerous strife at die call of his fellows, had 
die right to speak with die authority of his self sacrifice. And yet 



she was made uneasy. He was more pathetic than promising, this 
first civilian Chief of the State Costaguana had ever known, 
pronouncing, glass in hand, his simple watchwords of honesty, 
peace, respect for law, political good faith ahroad and at home— the 
safeguards of national honor. 

He sat down. During tire respectful, appreciative huzz of voices 
that followed tire speech, General Montero raised a pair of heavy, 
drooping eyelids and rolled his eyes with a sort of uneasy dullness 
from face to face. The military hackwoods hero of tire party, 
though secretly impressed hy tire sudden novelties and splendors 
of his position (he had never heen on hoard a ship he fore, and had 
hardly ever seen tire sea except from a distance), understood hy a 
sort of instinct tire advantage his surly, unpolished attitude of a 
savage fighter gave him among all these refined Blanco aristocrats. 
But why was it that nobody was looking at him? he wondered to 
himself, angrily. He was ahle to spell out the print of newspapers, 
and knew that he had performed the "greatest military exploit of 
modern times." 

"My husband wanted the railway," Mrs. Gould said to Sir John 
in the general murmur of resumed conversations. "All this brings 
nearer the sort of future we desire for the country, which has 
waited for it in sorrow long enough, God knows. But I will confess 
that the other day, during my afternoon drive, when I suddenly 
saw an Indian boy ride out of a wood with the red flag of a 
surveying party in his hand, I felt some tiling of a shock. The 
future means change— an utter change. And yet even here there are 
simple and picturesque tilings that one would like to preserve." 

Sir John listened, smiling. But it was his turn now to hush Mrs. 
Gould. 

"General Montero is going to speak." he whispered, and 
almost immediately added, in comic alarm, "Heavens! he's going 
to propose my own health, I helieve!" General Montero had risen 
with a jingle of steel scabbard and a ripple of glitter on his gold 
emhroidered breast; a heavy sword hilt appeared at his side above 
the edge of the tahle. In this gorgeous uniform, with his bull neck, 
his hooked nose flattened on the tip upon a blue black, dyed 
mustache, he looked like a disguised and sinister vaquero. The 
drone of his voice had a strangely rasping, soulless ring. He 
floundered, lowering, through a few vague sentences; then 
suddenly raising his big head and his voice together, hurst out, 
harshly: 

"The honor of the country is in the hands of the army. I assure 
you I shall be faithful to it." He hesitated till his roaming eyes met 
Sir John's face, upon which he fixed a lurid, sleepy glance; and the 
figure of the lately negotiated loan came into his mind. He lifted 
his glass. "I drink to the health of the man who brings us a million 
and a half of pounds." 



He tossed off his champagne, and sat down heavily with a half- 
surprised, half-hullying look all round the faces in die profound, as 
if appalled, silence which succeeded the felicitous toast. Sir John 
did not move. "I don't diink I am called upon to rise, he 
murmured to Mrs. Gould. "That sort of diing speaks for itself." 
But Don Jose Avellanos came to die rescue widi a short oration, in 
which he alluded pointedly to England's good will towards 
Costaguana— a good will, he continued significantly, "of which I, 
having heen in my time accredited to the court of St. James, am 
ahle to speak with some knowledge." 

Only then Sir John thought fit to respond, which he did 
gracefully in had French, punctuated by bursts of applause and the 
"Hear! hears!" of Captain Mitchell, who was able to understand a 
word now and then. Directly he had done, die financier of railways 
turned to Mrs. Gould: 

"You were good enough to say diat you intended to ask me for 
something," he reminded her gallantly. "What is it? Be assured 
that any request from you would be considered in die light of a 
favor to myself." She dianked him by a gracious smile. Everybody 
was rising from die table. 

"Let us go on deck," she proposed, "where I'll be able to point 
out to you die very object of my request." An enormous national 
flag of Costaguana, diagonal red and yellow, widi two green palm 
trees in the middle, floated lazily at die main masdiead of the Juno. 
A. multitude of fireworks being let off in dieir thousands at the 
water's edge in honor of die President kept up a mysterious 
crepitating noise half round die harbor. Now and dien a lot of 
rockets, swishing upw r ard invisibly, detonated overhead widi only a 
puff of smoke in die bright sky. Crowds of people could be seen 
between die town gate and die harbor, under die bunches of 
multicolored flags fluttering on tall poles. Faint bursts of military 
music would be heard suddenly, and die remote sound of 
shouting. A knot of ragged negroes at die end of die wharf kept on 
loading and firing a small iron cannon time after time. A grayish 
haze of dust hung diin and motionless against die sun. 

Don Vincente Ribiera made a few steps under die deck 
awning, leaning on die arm of Senor Avellanos; a wide circle was 
formed round him, where die mirdiless smile of his dark lips and 
die sightiess glitter of his spectacles could be seen turning amiably 
from side to side. The informal function arranged on purpose on 
board die Juno to give die President-Dictator an opportunity to 
meet intimately some of his most notable adherents in Sulaco, was 
drawing to an end. On one side, general Montero, his bald head 
covered now by a plumed cocked hat, remained motionless on a 
skylight seat, a pair of big gauntleted hands folded on die hilt of die 
sabre standing upright between his legs. The white plume, die 
coppery tint of his broad face, die blue-black of die mustaches 



under die curved beak, the mass of gold on sleeves and breast, die 
high shining boots widi enormous spurs, the working nostrils, the 
imbecile and domineering stare of die glorious victor of Rio Seco 
had in diem somediing ominous and incredible; die exaggeration 
of die cruel caricature, die fatuity of solemn masquerading, die 
atrocious grotesqueness of some military idol of Aztec conception 
and European bedecking, awaiting die homage of worshippers. 
Don Jose approached diplomatically diis weird and inscrutable 
portent, and Mrs. Gould turned her fascinated eyes away at last. 

Charles, coming up to take leave of Sir John, heard him say, as 
he bent over his wife's hand, "Certainly. Of course, my dear Mrs. 
Gould, for a protege of yours! Not die slightest difficulty. Consider 
it done." 

Going ashore in die same boat with the Goulds, Don Jose 
Avellanos was very silent. Even in the Gould carriage he did not 
open his lips for a long time. The mules trotted slowly away from 
the wharf between die extended hands of die beggars, who for diat 
day seemed to have abandoned in a body die portals of churches. 
Charles Gould sat on the back seat and looked away upon the 
plain. A multitude of boodis made of green boughs, of rushes, of 
odd pieces of plank eked out with bits of canvas had been erected 
all over it for die sale of cana, of dulces, of fruit, of cigars. Over 
littie heaps of glowing charcoal Indian women, squatting on mats, 
cooked food in black eardien pots, and boiled die water for die 
mate gourds, which diey offered in soft, caressing voices to the 
country people. A racecourse had been staked out for die 
vaqueros; and away to die left, from where die crowd was massed 
diickly about a huge temporary erection, like a circus tent of wood 
widi a conical grass roof, came die resonant twanging of harp 
strings, the sharp ping of guitars, widi die grave drumming dirob of 
an Indian gombo pulsating steadily through die shrill choruses of 
die dancers. 

Charles Gould said, presendy: 

"All diis piece of land belongs now to die railway company. 
There will be no more popular feasts held here." 

Mrs. Gould was radier sorry to diink so. She took this 
opportunity to mention how she had just obtained from Sir John 
the promise diat die house occupied by Giorgio Viola should not 
be interfered widi. She declared she could never understand why 
die survey engineers ever talked of demolishing diat old building. 
It was not in die way of die projected harbor branch of die line in 
die least. 

She stopped die carnage before die door to reassure at once 
die old Genoese, who came out bareheaded and stood by the 
carriage step. She talked to him in Italian, of course, and he 
tiianked her widi calm dignity. An old Garibaldino was grateful to 
her from die bottom of his heart for keeping die roof over die 



heads of his wife and children. He was too old to wander any 
more. 

"And is it forever, signora?" he asked, 

"For as long as you like." 

"Bene. Then die place must he named. It was not wordi while 
before." 

He smiled ruggedly, widi a running togedier of wrinkles at die 
comers of his eyes. "I shall set about die painting of die name 
tomorrow." 

"And what is it going to be, Giorgio?" 

"Albergo d'ltalia Una," said die old Garibaldino, looking away 
for a moment. "More in memory of those who have died," he 
added, "than for die country stolen from us soldiers of liberty by 
die craft of that accursed Piedmontese race of kings and 
ministers." 

Mrs. Gould smiled slightly, and, bending over a litde, began to 
inquire about his wife and children. He had sent diem into town 
on diat day. The padrona was better in health; many dianks to die 
signora for inquiring. 

People were passing in twos and tiirees, in whole parties of 
men and women attended by trotting children. A horseman 
mounted on a silver-gray mare drew rein quietiy in die shade of 
die house after taking off his hat to die party in die carriage, who 
returned smiles and familiar nods. Old Viola, evidendy very 
pleased widi die news he had just heard, interrupted himself for a 
moment to tell him rapidly diat die house was secured, by the 
kindness of die English signora, for as long as he liked to keep it. 
The odier listened attentively, but made no response. 

When die carriage moved on he took off his hat again, a gray 
sombrero widi a silver cord and tassels. The bright colors of a 
Mexican serape twisted on die cande, die enormous silver buttons 
on die embroidered leather jacket, die row of tiny silver buttons 
down die seam of die trousers, die snowy linen, a silk sash widi 
embroidered ends, die silver plates on headstall and saddle, 
proclaimed die unapproachable style of die famous capataz de 
cargadores— a Mediterranean sailor— got up widi more finished 
splendor dian any well-to-do young ranchero of die Campo had 
ever displayed on a high holiday. 

"It is a great tiling for me," murmured old Giorgio, still 
thinking of die house, for now he had grown weary of change. 
"The signora just said a word to die Englishman." 

"The old Englishman who has enough money to pay for a 
railway? He is going off in an hour," remarked Nostromo, 
carelessly. "Buon viaggio, dien. I've guarded his bones all die way 
from the Enrrada pass down to die plain and into Sulaco, as 
though he had been my own father." 

Old Giorgio only moved his head sideways absently. 



Nostromo pointed after the Goulds' carriage, nearing the grass- 
grown gate in die old town wall diat was like a wall of matted 
jungle. 

"And I have sat alone at night widi my revolver in die 
company's warehouse time and again by the side of diat odier 
Englishman's heap of silver, guarding it as diough it had been my 
own." 

Viola seemed lost in diought. "It is a great tiling for me," he 
repeated again, as if to himself. 

"It is," agreed die magnificent capataz de cargadores calmly. 
"Listen, Vecchio— go in and bring me out a cigar, but don't look 
for it in my room. There's nothing there." 

Viola stepped into die cafe and came out directly, still 
absorbed in his idea, and tendered him a cigar, mumbling 
thoughtfully in his mustache, "Children growing up— and girls, too! 
Girls!" He sighed and fell silent. 

"What! only one?" remarked Nostromo, looking down with a 
sort of comic inquisitiveness at the unconscious old man. "No 
matter," he added, with lofty negligence; "one is enough till 
another is wanted." He lit it and let die match drop from his 
passive fingers. Giorgio Viola looked up, and said, abruptly: 

"My son would have been just such a fine young man as you, 
Gian' Battista, if he had lived." 

"What? Your son? But you are right, padrone. If he had been 
like me he would have been a man." He turned his horse slowly, 
and paced on between die booths, checking the mare almost to a 
standstill now and then for children, for die groups of people from 
the distant Campo, who stared after him with admiration. The 
company's lightermen he met saluted him from afar; and die 
greatly envied capataz de cargadores advanced, among murmurs of 
recognition and obsequious greetings, towards die huge circuslike 
erection. The throng thickened; the guitars tinkled louder; other 
horseman sat motionless, smoking calmly above the heads of the 
crowd; it eddied and pushed before die doors of die high roofed 
building, whence issued a shuffle and thumping of feet in time to 
the dance music vibrating and shrieking widi a racking rhythm, 
overhung by die tremendous, sustained, hollow roar of die gombo. 
The barbarous and imposing noise of die big drum, diat can 
madden a crowd, and diat even Europeans cannot hear without a 
strange emotion, seemed to draw Nostromo on to its source, while 
a man, wrapped up in a faded, torn poncho, walked by his stirrup, 
and, buffeted right and left, begged "his worship" insistentiy for 
employment on the wharf. He whined, offering die Sefior Capataz 
half his daily pay for die privilege of being admitted to die 
swaggering fraternity of cargadores; die odier half would be enough 
for him, he protested. But Captain Mitchell's right hand man— 
"invaluable for our work— a perfecdy incorruptible fellow"— after 



looking down critically at the ragged mozo, shook his head without 
a word in die uproar going on around. 

The man fell hack; and a little fardier on Nostromo had to pull 
up. From die doors of die dancehall men and women emerged 
tottering, streaming widi sweat, trembling in every limb, to lean, 
panting, with staring eyes and parted lips, against die wall of die 
structure, where die harps and guitars played on widi mad speed in 
an incessant roll of diunder. Hundreds of hands clapped in diere; 
voices shrieked, and dien all at once would sink low, chanting in 
unison die refrain of a love song, widi a dying fall. A red flower, 
flung with a good aim from somewhere in the crowd, struck the 
resplendent capataz on die cheek. 

He caught it as it fell, neady, but for some time did not turn his 
head. When at last he condescended to look round, die dirong 
near him had parted to make way for a pretty Morenita, her hair 
held up by a small golden comb, who was walking towards him in 
the open space. 

Her arms and neck emerged plump and bare from a snowy 
chemisette; die blue woolen skirt, widi all die fullness gadiered in 
front, scanty on die hips and tight across die back, disclosed die 
provoking action of her walk. She came straight on and laid her 
hand on die mare's neck widi a timid, coquettish look upward out 
of die corner of her eyes. 

"Querido," she murmured, caressingly, "why do you pretend 
not to see me when I pass?" 

"Because I don't love diee any more," said Nostromo, 
deliberately, after a moment of reflective silence. 

The hand on die mare's neck trembled suddenly. She 
dropped her head before all die eyes in die wide circle formed 
round die generous, die terrible, die inconstant capataz de 
cargadores, and his Morenita. 

Nostromo, looking down, saw tears beginning to fall down her 
face. 

"Has it come, dien, everdieloved of my heart?" she whispered. 
"Is it true?" 

"No," said Nostromo, looking away carelessly. "It was a lie. I 
love thee as much as ever." 

"Is diat true?" she cooed joyously, her cheeks still wet with 
tears. 

"It is true." 

"True on die life?" 

"As true as that; but diou must not ask me to swear it on die 
Madonna diat stands in thy room." And die capataz laughed a little 
in response to die grins of die crowd. 

She pouted— very pretty— a littie uneasy. 

"No, I will not ask for diat. I can see love in your eyes." She 
laid her hand on his knee. "Why are you trembling like this? 



From love?" she continued, while the cavernous thundering of the 
gombo went on without a pause. "But if you love her as much as 
that, you must give your Paquita a gold mounted rosary of beads 
for the neck of her Madonna." 

"No," said Nostromo, looking into her uplifted, begging eyes, 
which suddenly turned stony with surprise. 

"No? Then what else will your worship give me on the day of 
the fiesta?" she asked, angrily; "so as not to shame me before all 
these people." 

"There is no shame for thee in getting nothing from thy lover 
for once." 

"True! The shame is your worship's— my poor lover's," she 
flared up, sarcastically. 

Laughs were heard at her anger, at her retort. What an 
audacious spitfire she was! The people aware of this scene were 
calling out urgently to others in the crowd. The circle round the 
silver-gray mare narrowed slowly. 

The girl went on a pace or two, confronting the mocking 
curiosity of the eyes, then flung back to the stirrup, tiptoeing, her 
enraged face turned up to Nostromo with a pair of blazing eyes. 
He bent low to her in the saddle. 

"Juan," she hissed, "I could stab thee to the heart." 

The dreaded capataz de cargadores, magnificent and carelessly 
public in his amours, flung his arm round her neck and kissed her 
spluttering lips. A murmur went round. 

"A knife!" he demanded at large, holding her firmly by the 
shoulder. 

Twenty blades flashed out together in the circle. A young man 
in holiday attire, bounding in, thrust one in Nostromo's hand and 
bounded back into the ranks, very proud of himself. Nostromo 
had not even looked at him. 

"Stand on my foot," he commanded the girl, who, suddenly 
subdued, rose lightly, and when he had her up, encircling her 
waist, her face near to his, he pressed the knife into her little hand. 

"No, Morenita! You shall not put me to shame," he said. "You 
shall have your present; and so that every one shall know who is 
your lover today, you may cut all the silver buttons off my coat." 

There were shouts of laughter and applause at this witty freak, 
while the girl passed the keen blade, and the impassive rider 
jingled in his palm the increasing hoard of silver buttons. He eased 
her to the ground with both her hands full. After whispering for a 
while with a very strenuous face, she walked away, staring 
haughtily, and vanished into the crowd. 

The circle had broken up, and the lordly capataz de 
cargadores, the indispensable man, the tried and trusty Nostromo, 
the Mediterranean sailor come ashore casually to try his luck in 
Costaguana, rode slowly towards the harbor. The Juno was just 



then swinging round; and even as Nostromo reined up again to 
look on, a flag was run up on the improvised flagstaff erected in an 
ancient and dismantled little fort at the harbor entrance. Half a 
battery of field guns had been hurried over there from the Sulaco 
barracks for the purpose of firing the reglementary salutes for the 
President-Dictator and the War Minister. As the mail boat headed 
through die pass, the badly timed reports announced the end of 
Don Vincente Ribiera's first official visit to Sulaco, and for Captain 
Mitchell the end of another "historic occasion." Next time when 
die "Hope of honest men" was to come that way, a year and a half 
later, it was unofficially, over die mountain tracks, fleeing after a 
defeat on a lame mule, to be only just saved by Nostromo from an 
ignominious deadi at die hands of a mob. It was a very different 
event, of which Captain Mitchell used to say: 

"It was history— history, sir! And diat fellow of mine. 
Nostromo, you know, was right in it. Absolutely making history, 
sir. 

But diis event, creditable to Nostromo, was to lead 
immediately to anodier, which could not be classed eidier as 
"history" or as "a mistake" in Captain Mitchell's phraseology. He 
had anodier word for it. 

"Sir," he used to say, afterwards, "diat was no mistake. It was a 
fatality. A misfortune, pure and simple, sir And diat poor fellow of 
mine was right in it— right in die middle of it! A fatality, if ever 
diere was one— and to my mind he has never been die same man 
since." 



PART II-The Isabels 
I 

THROUGH good and evil report in die varying fortune of diat 
struggle which Don Jose had characterized in die phrase "The fate 
of national honesty tremhles in die halance," die Gould 
Concession, "Iniperium in imperio," had gone on working; the 
square mountain had gone on pouring its treasure down the 
wooden shoots to the unresting hatteries of stamps; die lights of 
San Tome had twinkled night after night upon die great, limidess 
shadow of die Campo; every diree mondis die silver escort had 
gone down to die sea as if neidier die war nor its consequences 
could ever affect die ancient Occidental state secluded beyond its 
high barrier of die Cordillera All die fighting took place on the 
odier side of diat mighty wall of serrated peaks lorded over by die 
white dome of Higuerota and as yet unbreached by die railway, of 
which only die first part, die easy Campo part from Sulaco to die 
Ivie Valley at die foot of die pass, had been laid. Neidier did die 
telegraph line cross die mountains yet; its poles, like slender 
beacons on die plain, penetrated into die forest fringe of die 
foothills cut by the deep avenue of die track; and its wire ended 
abruptiy in die construction camp at a white deal table supporting 
a Morse apparatus, in a long hut of planks with a corrugated iron 
roof overshadowed by gigantic cedar trees— die quarters of die 
engineer in charge of die advance section. 

The harbor was busy, too, with die traffic in railway material, 
and witii die movements of troops along die coast. The O.S.N. 
Company found much occupation for its fleet. Costaguana had no 
navy, and, apart from a few coastguard cutters, diere were no 
national ships except a couple of old merchant steamers used as 
transports. 

Captain Mitchell, feeling more and more in die diick of 
history, found time for an hour or so during an afternoon in die 
drawing room of die Casa Gould, where, with a strange ignorance 
of die real forces at work around him, he professed himself 
delighted to get away from die strain of affairs. He did not know 
what he would have done widiout his invaluable Nostromo, he 
declared. Those confounded Costaguana politics gave him more 
work— he confided to Mrs. Gould— dian he had bargained for. 

Don Jose Avellanos had displayed in the service of the 
endangered Ribiera government an organizing activity and an 
eloquence of which die echoes reached even Europe. For, after 
die new loan to die Ribiera government, Europe had become 
interested in Costaguana. The sala of die Provincial Assembly (in 
die municipal buildings of Sulaco), with its portraits of die 



Liberators on the walls and an old flag of Cortez preserved in a 
glass case above die President's chair, had heard all diese 
speeches— die early one containing die impassioned declaration 
"Militarism is die enemy," die famous one of die "trembling 
balance," delivered on die occasion of die vote for die raising of a 
second Sulaco regiment in die defence of die reforming 
government; and when die provinces again displayed dieir old flags 
(proscribed in Guzman Bento's time) there was another of those 
great orations, when Don Jose greeted diese old emblems of die 
war of independence, brought out again in die name of new Ideals. 
The old idea of Federalism had disappeared. For his part he did 
not wish to revive old political doctrines. They were perishable. 
They died. But the doctrine of political rectitude was immortal. 
The second Sulaco regiment, to whom he was presenting this flag, 
was going to show its valor in a contest for order, peace, progress; 
for the establishment of national self respect, without which— he 
declared widi energy— "we are a reproach and a byword among die 
powers of the world." 

Don Jose Avellanos loved his country. He had served it 
lavishly widi his fortune during his diplomatic career, and die later 
story of his captivity and barbarous ill usage under Guzman Bento 
was well known to his listeners. It was a wonder diat he had not 
been a victim of die ferocious and summary executions which 
marked die course of diat tyranny; for Guzman had ruled die 
country with die sombre imbecility of political fanaticism. The 
power of supreme government had become in his dull mind an 
object of strange worship, as if it were some sort of cruel deity. It 
was incarnated in himself, and his adversaries, die Federalists, were 
die supreme sinners, objects of hate, abhorrence, and fear, as 
heretics would be to a convinced Inquisitor. For years he had 
carried about at die tail of die Army of Pacification, all over the 
country, a captive band of such atrocious criminals, who 
considered diemselves most unfortunate at not having been 
summarily executed. It was a diminishing company of nearly 
naked skeletons, loaded with irons, covered with dirt, with vermin, 
with raw wounds, all men of position, of education, of wealdi, who 
had learned to fight among diemselves for scraps of rotten beef 
thrown to diem by soldiers, or to beg a negro cook for a drink of 
muddy water in pitiful accents. Don Jose Avellanos, clanking his 
chains among die odiers, seemed only to exist in order to prove 
how much hunger, pain, degradation, and cruel torture a human 
body can stand widiout parting with die last spark of life. 
Sometimes interrogatories, backed by some primitive mediod of 
torture, were administered to them by a commission of officers 
hastily assembled in a hut of sticks and branches, and made pitiless 
by die fear for dieir own lives. A lucky one or two of diat spectral 
company of prisoners would perhaps be led tottering behind a 



bush to be shot by a file of soldiers. Always an army chaplain- 
some unshaven, dirty man, girt with a sword and with a tiny cross 
embroidered in white cotton on the left breast of a lieutenant's 
uniform— would follow, cigarette in the corner of the mouth, 
wooden stool in hand, to hear die confession and give absolution; 
for the Citizen Savior of the Country (Guzman Bento was called 
thus officially, in petitions) was not averse from the exercise of 
rational clemency. The irregular report of the firing squad would 
be heard, followed sometimes by a single finishing shot; a little 
bluish cloud of smoke would float up above the green bushes, and 
the Army of Pacification would move on over the savannas, 
through the forests, crossing rivers, invading rural pueblos, 
devastating the haciendas of the horrid aristocrats, occupying the 
inland towns in the fulfillment of its patriotic mission, and leaving 
behind a united land wherein the evil taint of Federalism could no 
longer be detected in the smoke of burning houses and the smell 
of spilled blood. 

Don Jose Avellanos had survived that time. 

Perhaps, when contemptuously signifying to him his release, 
the Citizen Savior of the Country might have thought this 
benighted aristocrat too broken in health and spirit and fortune to 
be any longer dangerous. Or, perhaps, it may have been a simple 
caprice. Guzman Bento, usually full of fanciful fears and brooding 
suspicions, had sudden accesses of unreasonable self confidence 
when he perceived himself elevated on a pinnacle of power and 
safety beyond the reach of mere mortal plotters. At such times he 
would impulsively command the celebration of a solemn mass of 
thanksgiving, which would be sung in great pomp in the cathedral 
of Sta. Marta by the trembling, subservient archbishop of his 
creation. He heard it sitting in a gilt armchair placed before the 
high altar, surrounded by the civil and military heads of his 
government. The unofficial world of Sta. Marta would crowd into 
the cathedral, for it was not quite safe for anybody of mark to stay 
away from these manifestations of presidential piety. Having thus 
acknowledged the only power he was at all disposed to recognize 
as above himself, he would scatter acts of political grace in a 
sardonic wantonness of clemency. There was no other way left 
now to enjoy his power but by seeing his crushed adversaries crawl 
impotently into the light of day out of the dark, noisome cells of 
the colegio. Their harmlessness fed his insatiable vanity, and they 
could always be got hold of again. It was the rule for all the women 
of their families to present thanks afterwards in a special audience. 
The incarnation of that strange god, El Gobierno Supremo, 
received them standing, cocked hat on head, and exhorted them in 
a menacing mutter to show their gratitude by bringing up their 
children in fidelity to the democratic form of government, "which I 
have established for the happiness of our country." His front teeth 



having been knocked out in some accident of his former 
herdsman's life, his utterance was spluttering and indistinct. He 
had been working for Costaguana alone in the midst of treachery 
and opposition. Let it cease now lest he should become weary of 
forgiving! 

Don Jose Avellanos had known this forgiveness. 

He was broken in health and fortune deplorably enough to 
present a truly gratifying spectacle to the supreme chief of 
democratic institutions. He retired to Sulaco. His wife had an 
estate in that province, and she nursed him back to life out of the 
house of death and captivity. When she died, their daughter, an 
only child, was old enough to devote herself to "poor papa." 

Miss Avellanos, born in Europe and educated partly in 
England, was a tall, grave girl, with a self-possessed manner, a wide, 
white forehead, a wealth of rich brown hair, and blue eyes. 

The other young ladies of Sulaco stood in awe of her character 
and accomplishments. She was reputed to be terribly learned and 
serious As to pride, it was well known that all the Corbelans were 
proud, and her mother was a Corbelan. Don Jose Avellanos 
depended very much upon the devotion of his beloved Antonia. 
He accepted it in tire benighted way of men, who, though nrade in 
God's inrage, are like stone idols without sense before the snroke 
of certain burnt offerings. He was ruined in every way, but a man 
possessed of passion is not a bankrupt in life. Don Jose Avellanos 
desired passionately for his country: peace, prosperity, and (as tire 
end of tire preface to Fifty Years of Misrule has it) "an honorable 
place in tire comity of civilized nations." In this last phrase the 
Minister Plenipotentiary, cruelly humiliated by tire bad faith of his 
government towards tire foreign bondholders, stands disclosed in 
tire patriot. 

The fatuous turnroil of greedy factions succeeding tire tyranny 
of Guzman Bento seenred to bring his desire to tire very door of 
opportunity. He was too old to descend personally into tire centre 
of tire arena at Sta. Marta. But the men who acted there sought his 
advice at every step. He himself drought that he could be nrost 
useful at a distance, in Sulaco. His name, his connections, his 
former position, his experience conrnranded tire respect of his 
class. The discovery that this man, living in dignified poverty in tire 
Corbelan town residence (opposite tire Casa Gould), could 
dispose of material means towards tire support of tire cause 
increased his influence It was his open letter of appeal that decided 
tire candidature of Don Vincente Ribiera for the Presidency. 
Another of these informal state papers drawn up by Don Jose (this 
time in tire shape of an address from tire province) induced that 
scrupulous constitutionalist to accept tire extraordinary powers 
conferred upon him for five years by an overwhelming vote of tire 
congress in Sta. Marta. It was a specific mandate to establish the 



prosperity of the people on the basis of firm peace at home, and to 
redeem the national credit by the satisfaction of all just claims 
abroad. 

On the afternoon the news of that vote had reached Sulaco by 
the usual roundabout postal way through Cayta, and up the coast 
by steamer. Don Jose, who had been waiting for the mail in the 
Goulds' drawing room, got out of the rocking chair, letting his hat 
fall off his knees. He rubbed his silvery, short hair with both 
hands, speechless with the excess of joy. 

"Emilia, my soul," he had burst out, "let me embrace you! Let 
me— 

Captain Mitchell, had he been there, would no doubt have 
made an apt remark about tire dawn of a new era; but if Don Jose 
thought something of the kind, his eloquence failed him on this 
occasion. The inspirer of that revival of tire Blanco party tottered 
where he stood. Mrs. Gould moved forward quickly, and, as she 
offered her cheek with a snrile to her old friend, managed very 
cleverly to give him tire support of her arm he really needed. 

Don Jose had recovered himself at once, but for a time he 
could do no nrore than nrurnrur, "Oh, you two patriots! Oh, you 
two patriots!"— looking from one to the other. Vague plans of 
another historical work, wherein all the devotions to the 
regeneration of the country he loved would be enshrined for the 
reverent worship of posterity, flitted through his nrind. The 
historian who had enough elevation of soul to write of Guznran 
Bento: "Yet this monster, imbrued in tire blood of his 
countrymen, nrust not be held unreservedly to the execration of 
future years. It appears to be true that he, too, loved his country. 
He had given it twelve years of peace; and, absolute nraster of lives 
and fortune as he was, he died poor. His worst fault, perhaps, was 
not his ferocity, but his ignorance." The man who could write thus 
of a cruel persecutor (tire passage occurs in his History of Misrule) 
felt at tire foreshadowing of success an almost boundless affection 
for his two helpers, for these two young people fronr over tire sea. 

Just as years ago, calmly, fronr tire conviction of practical 
necessity, stronger than any abstract political doctrine, Henry 
Gould had drawn tire sword, so now, tire times being changed, 
Charles Gould had flung tire silver of tire San Tome into tire fray. 
The Inglez of Sulaco, tire "Costaguana Englishman" of tire third 
generation, was as far fronr being a political intriguer as his uncle 
fronr a revolutionary swashbuckler. Springing fronr tire instinctive 
uprightness of their natures their action was reasoned. They saw an 
opportunity and used tire weapon to hand. 

Charles Gould's position— a commanding position in tire 
background of that attenrpt to retrieve tire peace and tire credit of 
tire republic— was very clear. At tire beginning he had had to 
acconrnrodate himself to existing circumstances of corruption so 



naively brazen as to disarm die hate of a man courageous enough 
not to be afraid of its irresponsible potency to ruin everything it 
touched. It seemed to him too contemptible for hot anger even. 
He made use of it with a cold, fearless scorn, manifested rather 
than concealed by the forms of stony courtesy which did away with 
much of die ignominy of the situation. At bottom, perhaps, he 
suffered from it, for he was not a man of cowardly illusions, but he 
refused to discuss die ethical view with his wife. He frusted that, 
though a little disenchanted, she would be intelligent enough to 
understand diat his character safeguarded die enterprise of dieir 
lives as much or more than his policy. The exfraordinary 
development of die mine had put a great power into his hands. To 
feel diat prosperity always at die mercy of unintelligent greed had 
grown irksome to him. To Mrs. Gould it was humiliating. At any 
rate, it was dangerous. In die confidential communications passing 
between Charles Gould, die King of Sulaco, and the head of die 
silver and steel interests far away in California, die conviction was 
growing diat any attempt made by men of education and integrity 
ought to be discreedy supported. "You may tell your friend 
Avellanos diat I diink so." Mr. Holroyd had written at die proper 
moment from his inviolable sanctuary widiin die eleven story high 
factory of great affairs. And shortly afterwards, widi a credit 
opened by die Third Soudiern Bank (located next door but one to 
the Holroyd Building) die Ribierist party in Costaguana took a 
practical shape under the eye of die administrator of die San 
Tome mine. And Don Jose, die hereditary friend of die Gould 
family, could say: "Perhaps, my dear Carlos, I shall not have 
believed in vain." 



II 



AFTER another armed snuggle, decided by Montero's victory of 
Rio Seco, had been added to the tale of civil wars, the "honest 
men," as Don Jose called diem, could breadie freely for the first 
time in half a century. The Five Year Mandate law became the 
basis of diat regeneration, die passionate desire and hope for 
which had been like die elixir of everlasting youth for Don Jose 
Avellanos. 

And when it was suddenly— and not quite unexpectedly- 
endangered by diat "brute Montero," it was a passionate 
indignation diat gave him a new lease of life, as it were. Already, at 
die time of the President-Dictator's visit to Sulaco, Moraga had 
sounded a note of warning from Sta. Marta about the War 
Minister. Montero and his brodier made die subject of an earnest 
talk between die Dictator-President and die Nestor-inspirer of die 
party. But Don Vincente, a doctor of philosophy from die 



Cordova University, seemed to have an exaggerated respect for 
military ability, whose mysteriousness— since it appeared to be 
altogether independent of intellect— imposed upon his imagination. 
The victor of Rio Seco was a popular hero. His services were so 
recent that the President-Dictator quailed before the obvious 
charge of political ingratitude. Great regenerating transactions were 
being initiated— the fresh loan, a new railway line, a vast 
colonization scheme. Anything that could unsettle the public- 
opinion in the capital was to be avoided. Don Jose bowed to these 
arguments and tried to dismiss from his mind the gold-laced 
portent in boots, and with a sabre, made meaningless now at last, 
he hoped, in the new order of firings. 

Less than six months after the President-Dictator's visit, Sulaco 
learned with stupefaction of tire military revolt in tire name of 
national honor. The Minister of War, in a barrack-square 
allocution to tire officers of tire artillery regiment he had been 
inspecting, had declared tire national honor sold to foreigners. The 
Dictator, by this weak compliance with the demands of the 
European powers— for tire settlement of long outstanding money 
claims— had showed himself unfit to rule. A letter from Moraga 
explained afterwards that tire initiative, and even tire very text, of 
tire incendiary allocution canre, in reality, from tire other Montero, 
tire ex-guerrillero, tire Comandante de Plaza. The energetic 
treatment of Dr. Monyghanr, sent for in haste "to tire mountain," 
who came galloping three leagues in the dark, saved Don Jose 
from a dangerous attack of jaundice. 

After getting over tire shock, Don Jose refused to let himself be 
prostrated. Indeed, better news succeeded at first. The revolt in 
tire capital had been suppressed after a night of fighting in the 
streets. Unfortunately, both tire Monteros had been able to make 
their escape south, to their native province of Entre-Montes. The 
hero of the forest march, tire victor of Rio Seco, had been received 
with frenzied acclamations in Nicoya, the provincial capital. The 
troops in garrison there had gone to him in a body. The brothers 
were organizing an army, gathering malcontents, sending 
emissaries prinred with patriotic lies to tire people, and with 
pronrises of plunder to tire wild Llaneros. Even a Monterist press 
had conre into existence, speaking oracularly of tire secret 
pronrises of support given by "our great sister republic of the 
north" against tire sinister laird grabbing designs of European 
powers, cursing in every issue tire "miserable Ribiera," who had 
plotted to deliver his country, bound hand and foot, for a prey to 
foreign speculators. 

Sulaco, pastoral and sleepy, with its opulent Canrpo and tire 
rich silver mine, heard tire din of arnrs fitfully in its fortunate 
isolation. It was nevertheless in the very forefront of tire defence 
with nren and nroney; but runrors reached it circuitously— from 



abroad even, so much was it cut off from the rest of the republic, 
not only by natural obstacles, but also by the vicissitudes of the 
war. The Monteristos were besieging Cayta, an important postal 
link. The overland couriers ceased to come across die mountains, 
and no muleteer would consent to risk die journey at last; even 
Bonifacio on one occasion failed to return from Sta. Marta, eidier 
not daring to start, or perhaps captured by die parties of the enemy 
raiding die country between die Cordillera and die capital. 
Monterist publications, however, found dieir way into die 
province, mysteriously enough; and also Monterist emissaries 
preaching deadi to aristocrats in die villages and towns of die 
Campo. Very early, at die beginning of die trouble, Hernandez, 
die bandit, had proposed (dirough die agency of an old priest of a 
village in die wilds) to deliver two of diem to die Ribierist 
audiorities in Tonoro. They had come to offer him a free pardon 
and die rank of colonel from General Montero in consideration of 
joining die rebel army widi his mounted band. No notice was 
taken at die time of die proposal. It was joined, as an evidence of 
good faith, to a petition praying die Sulaco Assembly for 
permission to enlist, widi all his followers, in die forces being dien 
raised in Sulaco for die defence of die Five Year Mandate of 
regeneration. The petition, like everything else, had found its way 
into Don Jose's hands. He had showed to Mrs. Gould diese pages 
of dirty grayish rough paper (perhaps looted in some village store), 
covered widi die crabbed, illiterate handwriting of die old padre, 
carried off from his hut by die side of a mud-walled church to be 
die secretary of die dreaded salteador. They had bodi bent in die 
lamplight of die Gould drawing room over die document 
containing die fierce and yet humble appeal of die man against die 
blind and stupid barbarity turning an honest ranchero into a 
bandit. A postscript of die priest stated diat, but for being deprived 
of his liberty for ten days, he had been treated widi humanity and 
die respect due to his sacred calling. He had been, it appears, 
confessing and absolving die chief and most of die band, and he 
guaranteed die sincerity of dieir good disposition. He had 
distributed heavy penances, no doubt in the way of litanies and 
fasts; but he argued shrewdly diat it would be difficult for diem to 
make dieir peace widi God durably till diey had made peace widi 
men. 

Never before, perhaps, had Hernandez's head been in less 
jeopardy dian when he petitioned humbly for permission to buy a 
pardon for himself and his gang of deserters by armed service. He 
could range afar from die waste lands protecting his fastness, 
unchecked, because diere w r ere no troops left in die wiiole 
province. The usual garrison of Sulaco had gone soudi to die war 
widi its brass band playing die Bolivar march on die bridge of one 
of die O.S.N. Company's steamers. The great family coaches 



drawn up along die shore of the harbor were made to rock on die 
high leadiern springs by die endiusiasm of die sehoras and die 
sehoritas standing up to wave their lace handkerchiefs, as lighter 
after lighter packed full of troops left die end of die jetty. 

Nostromo directed die embarkation, under die 
superintendence of Captain Mitchell, red faced in die sun, 
conspicuous in a white waistcoat, representing the allied and 
anxious good will of all die material interests of civilization. 
General Barrios, who commanded die troops, assured Don Jose 
on parting diat in diree weeks he would have Montero in a 
wooden cage drawn by diree pair of oxen ready for a tour dirough 
all die towns of the republic. 

"And dien, sefiora," he continued, baring his curly, iron-gray 
head to Mrs. Gould in her landau— "and dien, sefiora. we shall 
convert our swords into ploughshares and grow rich. Even I, 
myself, as soon as this little business is settled, shall open a 
fundacion on some land I have on die Llanos and try to make a 
little money in peace and quietness. Sefiora, you know, all 
Costaguana knows— what do I say?— diis whole Soudi American 
continent knows, diat Pablo Barrios has had his fill of military 
glory." 

Charles Gould was not present at the anxious and patriotic 
send off. It was not his part to see die soldiers embark. It was 
neidier his part, nor his inclination, nor his policy. His part, his 
inclination, and his policy were united in one endeavor to keep 
unchecked die flow of treasure he had started singlehanded from 
die reopened scar in die flank of die mountain. As die mine had 
developed he had trained for himself some native help. There 
were foremen, artificers, and clerks, with Don Pepe for die 
gobernador of die mining population. For the rest, his shoulders 
alone sustained die whole weight of die "Imperium in imperio," 
die great Gould Concession whose mere shadow had been enough 
to crush die life out of his fadier. 

Mrs. Gould had no silver mine to look after. In die general life 
of die Gould Concession she was represented by her two 
lieutenants, die doctor and die priest, but she fed her woman's 
love of excitement on events whose significance was purified to her 
by the fire of her imaginative purpose. On diat day she had 
brought die Avellanos, fadier and daughter, down to die harbor 
with her. 

Among his odier activities of diat stirring time, Don Jose had 
become the chairman of a patriotic committee which had armed a 
great proportion of troops in die Sulaco command with an 
improved model of a military rifle. It had been just discarded for 
somediing still more deadly by one of die great European powers. 
How much of die market price for second hand weapons was 
covered by die voluntary, contributions of die principal families, 



and how much came from those funds Don Jose was understood 
to command ahroad, remained a secret which he alone could have 
disclosed; hut die Ricos, as die populace called diem, had 
contrihuted under die pressure of dieir Nestor's eloquence. Some 
of die more endiusiastic ladies had heen moved to hring offerings 
of jewels into die hands of die man who was die life and soul of die 
party. 

There were moments when hodi his life and his soul seemed 
overtaxed by so many years of undiscouraged belief in 
regeneration. He appeared almost inanimate, sitting rigidly by the 
side of Mrs. Gould in die landau, with his line, old, clean shaven 
face of a uniform tint as if modeled in yellow wax, shaded by a soft 
felt hat, and the dark eyes looking out fixedly. Antonia, the 
beautiful Antonia as Miss Avellanos was called in Sulaco, leaned 
back, facing them; and her full figure, the grave oval of her face 
with full red lips, made her look more mature than Mrs. Gould, 
with her mobile expression and small erect person under a slightly 
swaying sunshade. 

Whenever possible Antonia attended her father; her 
recognized devotion weakened die shocking effect of her scorn for 
die rigid conventions regulating die life of Spanish-American 
girlhood. And, in truth, she was no longer girlish. It was said that 
she often wrote state papers from her father's dictation, and was 
allowed to read all die books in his library. At die receptions— 
where the situation was saved by die presence of a very decrepit 
old lady (a relation of die Corbelans), quite deaf and motionless in 
an armchair— Antonia could hold her own in a discussion with two 
or three men at a time. Obviously she was not the girl to be 
content with peeping through a barred window at a cloaked figure 
of a lover ensconced in a doorway opposite— which is die correct 
form of Costaguana courtship. It was generally believed that with 
her foreign upbringing and foreign ideas die learned and proud 
Antonia would never many— unless, indeed, she married a 
foreigner from Europe or North America, now that Sulaco 
seemed on die point of being invaded by all die world. 



Ill 



WHEN General Barrios stopped to address Mrs. Gould, Antonia 
raised negligently her hand holding an open fan, as if to shade 
from die sun her head, wrapped in a light lace shawl. The clear 
gleam of her blue eyes gliding behind die black fringe of eyelashes 
paused for a moment upon her father, then travelled farther to die 
figure of a young man of thirty at most, of medium height, rather 
thick, wearing a light overcoat. Bearing down with die open palm 
of his hand upon die knob of a flexible cane, he had been looking 



on from a distance; but directly he saw himself noticed, he 
approached quietly and put his elbow over the door of the landau. 

The shirt collar, cut low in the neck, the big bow of his cravat, 
the style of his clothing, from the round hat to the varnished shoes, 
suggested an idea of French elegance; but otherwise he was the 
very type of a fair Spanish Creole. The fluffy mustache and the 
short, curly, golden beard did not conceal his lips, rosy, fresh, 
almost pouting in expression. His full round face was of that warm, 
healthy, Creole white which is never tanned by its native sunshine. 
Martin Decoud was seldom exposed to the Costaguana sun under 
which he was born. His people had been long settled in Paris, 
where he had studied law, had dabbled in literature, had hoped 
now and then in moments of exaltation to become a poet like that 
other foreigner of Spanish blood, Jose Maria Heredia. In other 
moments he had, to pass the time, condescended to write articles 
on European affairs for the Sem[a]nario, the principal newspaper 
in Sta. Marta, which printed them under tire heading, "From our 
special correspondent," though tire authorship was an open secret. 
Everybody in Costaguana, where tire tale of compatriots in Europe 
is jealously kept, knew that it was "the son Decoud," a talented 
young man, supposed to be moving in tire higher spheres of 
Society. As a matter of fact, he was an idle boulevardier, in touch 
with sonre smart journalists, nrade free of a few newspaper offices, 
and welconred in the pleasure haunts of pressmen. This life, 
whose dreary superficiality is covered by tire glitter of universal 
blague, like tire stupid clowning of a harlequin by the spangles of a 
motley costunre, induced in him a Frenchified— but nrost un- 
French— cosmopolitanism, in reality a nrere barren indifferentism 
posing as intellectual superiority. Of his own country he used to 
say to his French associates:— "Imagine air atmosphere of opera- 
bouffe in which all tire conric business of stage statesmen, brigands, 
etc., etc., all their farcical stealing, intriguing, and stabbing is done 
in dead earnest. It is screamingly funny; tire blood flows all tire 
time, and tire actors believe themselves to be influencing the fate of 
tire universe. Of course, government in general, any government 
anywhere, is a tiring of exquisite comicality to a discerning mind; 
but really we Spanish-Americans do overstep tire bounds. No man 
of ordinary intelligence can take part in tire intrigues of une farce 
macabre. However, those Ribierists, of whom we hear so much 
just now, are really trying in their own comical way to make tire 
country habitable, and even to pay sonre of its debts. My friends, 
you had better write up Senor Ribiera all you can in kindness to 
your own bondholders. Really, if what I am told in my letters is 
true, there is sonre chance for them at last." 

And he would explain with railing verve what Don Vincente 
Ribiera stood for— a nrournful little nran oppressed by his own 
good intentions; tire significance of battles won, who Montero was 



{un grotesque vaniteux etferoce), and die manner of die new loan 
connected widi railway development, and die colonization of vast 
tracts of land in one great financial scheme. 

And his French friends would remark diat evidentiy diis littie 
fellow Decoud connaissait le question a fond. An important 
Parisian review asked him for an article on die situation. It was 
composed in a serious tone and in a spirit of levity. Afterwards he 
asked one of his intimates: 

"Have you read my tiling ahout die regeneration of 
Costaguana— une bonne blague, hein?" 

He imagined himself Parisian to die tips of his fingers. But far 
from heing diat he was in danger of remaining a sort of 
nondescript dilettante all his life. He had pushed die habit of 
universal raillery to a point where it Minded him to die genuine 
impulses of his own nature. To he suddenly selected for die 
executive memher of die patriotic small arms committee of Sulaco 
seemed to him die height of die unexpected, one of diose fantastic 
moves of which only his "dear countrymen" were capahle. 

"It's like a tile falling on my head. I— I— executive memher! It's 
die first I hear of it! What do I know of military rifles? C'est 
funambulesquef he had exclaimed to his favorite sister; for die 
Decoud family— except die old fadier and modier— used die 
French language among diemselves. "And you should see die 
explanatory and confidential letter! Fight pages of it— no less!" 

This letter, in Antonia's handwriting, was signed by Don Jose, 
who appealed to die "young and gifted Costaguanero" on puhlic 
grounds, and privately opened his heart to his talented godson, a 
man of wealdi and leisure, with wide relations, and by his 
parentage and hringing-up wordiy of all confidence. 

"Which means," Martin commented cynically to his sister, 
"diat I am not likely to misappropriate die funds, or go hlahhing to 
our Charge d' Affaires here." 

The whole tiling was heing carried out hehind die hack of die 
War Minister, Montero, a mistrusted memher of die Ptibiera 
government, hut difficult to get rid of at once. He was not to know 
anytiiing of it till die troops under Barrios's command had die new 
rifle in dieir hands. The President-Dictator, whose position was 
very difficult, was alone in die secret. 

"How funny," commented Martin's sister and confidante; to 
which die hrodier, with an air of hest Parisian hlague, had retorted: 

"It's immense. The idea of diat Chief of die State engaged, 
with die help of private citizens, in digging a mine under his own 
indispensahle War Minister. No! We are unapproachable!" And 
he laughed immoderately. 

Afterwards his sister was surprised at die earnestness and 
ability he displayed in carrying out his mission, which 
circumstances made delicate, and his want of special knowledge 



rendered difficult. She had never seen Martin take so much 
trouhle ahout anything in his whole life. 

"It amuses me," he had explained, hrielly. "I am heset by a lot 
of swindlers trying to sell all sorts of gas pipe weapons. They are 
charming; they invite me to expensive luncheons; I keep up dieir 
hopes; it's extremely entertaining. Meanwhile the real affair is 
being carried through in quite another quarter." 

When die business was concluded he declared suddenly his 
intention of seeing the precious consignment delivered safely in 
Sulaco. The whole burlesque business, he diought, was wordi 
following up to the end. He mumbled his excuses, tugging at his 
golden beard, before die acute young lady who (after die first wide 
stare of astonishment) looked at him with narrowed eyes, and 
pronounced, slowly: 

"I believe you want to see Antonia." 

"What Antonia?" asked die Costaguana boulevardier, in a 
vexed and disdainful tone. He shrugged his shoulders, and spun 
round on his heel. His sister called out after him, joyously: 

"The Antonia you used to know when she wore her hair in two 
plaits down her back." 

He had known her some eight years before, shortly before die 
Avellanos had left Europe for good, as a tall girl of sixteen, 
youdifully austere, and of a character already so formed diat she 
ventured to treat slightingly his pose of disabused wisdom. On one 
occasion, as diough she had lost all patience, she flew out at him 
about die aimlessness of his life and die levity of his opinions. He 
was twenty then, an only son, spoiled by his adoring family. This 
attack disconcerted him so gready that he had faltered in his 
affectation of amused superiority before diat insignificant chit of a 
schoolgirl. But die impression left was so strong that ever since all 
the girl friends of his sisters recalled to him Antonia Avellanos by 
some faint resemblance, or by die great force of contrast. It was, he 
told himself, like a ridiculous fatality. And, of course, in die news 
the Decouds received regularly from Costaguana, die name of 
their friends, die Avellanos, cropped up frequendy— die arrest and 
die abominable treatment of die ex-Minister, die dangers and 
hardships endured by the family, its wididrawal in poverty to 
Sulaco, die deadi of die modier. 

The Monterist pronunciamiento had taken place before 
Martin Decoud reached Costaguana. He came out in a 
roundabout way, dirough Magellan's Straits by die main line and 
die West Coast Service of die O.S.N. Company. His precious 
consignment arrived just in time to convert the first feelings of 
consternation into a mood of hope and resolution. Publicly he was 
made much of by die familias principales. Privately Don Jose, still 
shaken and weak, embraced him with tears in his eyes. 

"You have come out yourself] No less could be expected from 



a Decoud. Alas! our worst fears have been realized," he moaned, 
affectionately. And again he hugged his godson. This was indeed 
the time for men of intellect and conscience to rally round the 
endangered cause. 

It was then that Martin Decoud. the adopted child of western 
Europe, felt the absolute change of atmosphere He submitted to 
being embraced and talked to without a word. He was moved in 
spite of himself by that note of passion and sorrow unknown on 
the more refined stage of European politics. But when the tall 
Antonia, advancing with her light step in the dimness of the big 
bare sala of the Avellanos house, offered him her hand (in her 
emancipated way), and murmured, "I am glad to see you here, 
Don Martin," he felt how impossible it would be to tell these two 
people that he had intended to go away by the next month's 
packet. Don Jose, meantime, continued his praises. Every 
accession added to public confidence; and, besides, what an 
example to the young men at home from the brilliant defender of 
the country's regeneration, the worthy expounder of the party's 
political faith before the world! Everybody had read the 
magnificent article in the famous Parisian Review. The world was 
now informed: and the author's appearance at this moment was 
like a public act of faith. Young Decoud felt overcome by a feeling 
of impatient confusion. His plan had been to return by way of the 
United States through California, visit the Yellowstone Park, see 
Chicago, Niagara, have a look at Canada, perhaps make a short 
stay in New York, a longer one in Newport, use his letters of 
introduction. The pressure of Antonia's hand was so frank, the 
tone of her voice was so unexpectedly unchanged in its approving 
warmth, that all he found to say after his low bow was: 

"I am inexpressibly grateful for your welcome; but why need a 
man be thanked for returning to his native country? I am sure 
Dona Antonia does not think so." 

"Certainly not, senor," she said, with that perfectly calm 
openness of manner which characterized all her utterances. "But 
when he returns, as you return, one may be glad— for the sake of 
both." 

Martin Decoud said nothing of his plans. He not only never 
breathed a word of them to any one, but only a fortnight later 
asked the mistress of the Casa Gould (where he had of course 
obtained admission at once), leaning forward in his chair with an 
air of well-bred familiarity, whether she could not detect in him 
that day a marked change— an air, he explained, of more excellent 
gravity. At this Mrs. Gould turned her face full towards him with 
the silent inquiry of slightly widened eyes and the merest ghost of a 
smile, an habitual movement with her, which was very fascinating 
to men by something subtly devoted, finely self-forgetful in its lively 
readiness of attention. Because, Decoud continued imperrurbably, 



he felt no longer an idle cumberer of the earth. She was, he 
assured her, actually beholding at that moment the Journalist of 
Sulaco. At once Mrs. Gould glanced towards Antonia, posed 
upright in die corner of a high, straight-backed Spanish sofa, a 
large black fan waving slowly against die curves of her fine figure, 
the tips of crossed feet peeping from under die hem of die black 
skirt. Decoud's eyes also remained fixed diere, while in an 
undertone he added diat Miss Avellanos was quite aware of his 
new and unexpected vocation, which in Costaguana was generally 
die speciality of half-educated negroes and wholly penniless 
lawyers. Then, confronting with a sort of urbane effrontery Mrs. 
Gould's gaze, now turned sympathetically upon himself, he 
breadied out die words, "Pro Patria!" 

What had happened was diat he had all at once yielded to 
Don Jose's pressing entreaties to take die direction of a newspaper 
diat would "voice die aspirations of die province." It had been 
Don Jose's old and cherished idea. The necessary plant (on a 
modest scale) and a large consignment of paper had been received 
from America some time before; die right man alone was wanted, 
even Sefior Moraga in Sta. Marta had not been able to find one, 
and die matter was now becoming pressing; some organ was 
absolutely needed to counteract the effect of die lies disseminated 
by die Monterist press: the atrocious calumnies, die appeals to die 
people calling upon diem to rise with dieir knives in dieir hands 
and put an end once for all to die Blancos, to diese Godiic 
remnants, to diese sinister mummies, diese impotent paraliticos, 
who plotted widi foreigners for die surrender of die lands and die 
slavery of die people. 

The clamor of diis Negro Liberalism frightened Sefior 
Avellanos. A newspaper was die only remedy. And now die right 
man had been found in Decoud, great black letters appeared 
painted between the windows above the arcaded ground floor of a 
house on die Plaza. It was next to Anzani's great emporium of 
boots, silks, ironware, muslins, wooden toys, tiny sliver arms, legs, 
heads, hearts (for ex-voto offerings), rosaries, champagne, women's 
hats, patent medicines, even a few dusty books in paper covers and 
mostiy in die French language. The big black letters formed die 
words, "Offices of die Porvenir." From diese offices a single 
folded sheet of Martin's journalism issued diree times a week; and 
die sleek, yellow Anzani prowling in a suit of ample black and 
carpet slippers, before die many doors of his establishment, 
greeted by a deep, sidelong inclination of his body die Journalist of 
Sulaco going to and fro on die business of his august calling. 



IV 



PERHAPS it was in die exercise of his calling that he had come to 
see die troops depart. The Poi-venir of die day after next would no 
doubt relate die event, but its editor, leaning his side against die 
landau, seemed to look at nodiing. The front rank of die company 
of infantry drawn up diree deep across the shore end of die jetty 
when pressed too close would bring their bayonets to the charge 
ferociously, with an awful ratde; and dien die crowd of spectators 
swayed back bodily, even under die noses of die big white mules. 
Notwidistanding die great multitude diere was only a low, 
muttering noise; die dust hung in a brown haze, in which the 
horsemen, wedged in die dirong here and diere, towered from die 
hips upward, gazing all one way over die heads. Almost every one 
of diem had mounted a friend, who steadied himself with bodi 
hands grasping his shoulders from behind; and die rims of tiieir 
hats touching, made like one disk sustaining die cones of two 
pointed crowns with a double face underneadi. A hoarse mozo 
would bawl out somediing to an acquaintance in die ranks, or a 
woman would shriek suddenly die word Adios! followed by the 
Christian name of a man. 

General Barrios, in a shabby blue tunic and white peg-top 
trousers falling upon strange red boots, kept his head uncovered 
and stooped slighdy, propping himself up with a diick stick. No! 
He had earned enough military glory to satiate any man, he 
insisted to Mrs. Gould, trying at die same time to put an air of 
gallantry into his attitude. A few jetty hairs hung sparsely from his 
upper lip, he had a salient nose, a thin, long jaw, and a black silk 
patch over one eye. His odier eye, small and deepset, twinkled 
erratically in all directions, aimlessly affable. The few European 
spectators, all men, who had naturally drifted into die 
neighborhood of die Gould equipage, betrayed by die solemnity of 
their faces their impression diat die general must have had too 
much punch (Swedish punch, imported in botdes by Anzani) at 
the Amarilla Club before he had started with his staff on a furious 
ride to die harbor. But Mrs. Gould bent forward, self-possessed, 
and declared her conviction diat still more glory awaited die 
general in die near future. 

"Seiiora," he remonstrated, with great feeling, "in the name of 
God, reflect! How can diere be any glory for a man like me in 
overcoming diat baldlieaded embustero with die dyed 
mustaches?" 

Pablo Ignacio Barrios, son of a village alcalde, general of 
division, commanding in chief die Occidental military district, did 
not frequent the higher society of die town. He preferred die 
unceremonious gadierings of men, where he could tell jaguar-hunt 
stories, boast of his powers with the lasso, with which he could 



perform extremely difficult feats of the sort "no married man 
should attempt," as the saying goes among the lianeros; relate 
tales of extraordinary night rides, encounters widi wild hulls, 
struggles widi crocodiles, adventures in die great forests, crossings 
of swollen rivers. And it was not mere hoastfulness diat prompted 
the general's reminiscences, but a genuine love of diat wild life 
which he had led in his young days before he turned his back 
forever on die diatched roof of die parental tolderia in die woods. 
Wandering away as far as Mexico he had fought against die French 
by die side (as he said) of Juarez, and was die only military man of 
Costaguana who had ever encountered European troops in the 
field. That fact shed a great lustre upon his name till it became 
eclipsed by die rising star of Montero. All his life he had been an 
inveterate gambler. He alluded himself quite openly to die current 
story how once, during some campaign (when in command of a 
brigade), he had gambled away his horses, pistols, and 
accoutrements, to die very epaulets, playing monte with his 
colonels die night before the batde. Finally, he had sent under 
escort his sword (a presentation sword, with a gold hilt) to die town 
in the rear of his position to be immediately pledged for five 
hundred pesetas with a sleepy and frightened shopkeeper. By 
daybreak he had lost die last of that money, too, when his only 
remark, as he rose calmly, was, "Now let us go and fight to the 
deadi." From diat time he had become aware diat a general could 
lead his troops into batde very well with a simple stick in his hand. 
"It has been my custom ever since," he would say. 

He was always overwhelmed with debts; even during the 
periods of splendor in his varied fortunes of a Costaguana general, 
when he held high military commands, his golddaced uniforms 
were almost always in pawn with some tradesman. And at last, to 
avoid die incessant difficulties of costume caused by die anxious 
lenders, he had assumed a disdain of military trappings, an 
eccentric fashion of shabby old tunics, which had become like a 
second nature. But die faction Barrios joined needed to fear no 
political betrayal. He was too much of a real soldier for die ignoble 
traffic of buying and selling victories. A member of die foreign 
diplomatic body in Sta. Marta had once passed judgment upon 
him: "Barrios is a man of perfect honesty and even of some talent 
for war, mais il manque de tenue." After die triumph of die 
Ribierists he had obtained die reputedly lucrative Occidental 
command, mainly dirough die exertions of his creditors (die Sta. 
Marta shopkeepers, all great politicians), who moved heaven and 
eardi in his interest publicly, and privately besieged Seiior Moraga, 
the influential agent of die San Tome mine, with die exaggerated 
lamentations diat if die general were passed over, "we shall all be 
ruined." An incidental but favorable mention of his name in Mr. 
Gould senior's long correspondence with his son had somediing to 



do with his appointment, too; hut most of all undoubtedly his 
established political honesty. No one questioned the personal 
bravery of the Tiger killer, as the populace called him. He was, 
however, said to be unlucky in the field— but this was to be the 
beginning of an era of peace. The soldiers liked him for his 
humane temper, which was like a strange and precious flower 
unexpectedly blooming on the hotbed of corrupt revolutions; and 
when he rode slowly through the streets during some military 
display, the contemptuous good humor of his solitary eye roaming 
over the crowds extorted the acclamations of the populace. The 
women of that class especially seemed positively fascinated by the 
long drooping nose, the peaked chin, the heavy lower lip, the black 
silk eye patch and band slanting rakishly over the forehead. His 
high rank always procured an audience of caballeros for his 
sporting stories, which he detailed very well, with a simple grave 
enjoyment. As to the society of ladies, it was irksome by the 
restraints it imposed without any equivalent, as far as he could see. 
He had not, perhaps, spoken three times on the whole to Mrs. 
Gould since he had taken up his high command; but he had 
observed her frequently riding with the Senor Administrador, and 
had pronounced that there was more sense in her little bridle hand 
than in all the female heads in Sulaco. His impulse had been to be 
very civil on parting to a woman who did not wobble in the saddle 
and happened to be the wife of a personality very important to a 
man always short of money. He even pushed his attentions so far 
as to desire the aide de camp at his side (a thickset, short captain 
with a Tartar physiognomy) to bring along a corporal with a file of 
men in front of the carriage, lest the crowd in its backward surges 
should "incommode the mules of the senora." Then, turning to 
the small knot of silent Europeans looking on within earshot, he 
raised his voice protectingly: "Senores, have no apprehension. Go 
on quietly making your ferrocarril— your railways, your telegraphs, 
your— There's enough wealth in Costaguana to pay for everything— 
or else you would not be here. Ha! ha! Don't mind this little 
picardia of my friend Montero. In a little while you shall behold 
his dyed mustaches through the bars of a strong wooden cage. Si, 
senores! Fear nothing; develop the country; work, work." 

The little group of engineers received this exhortation without 
a word, and after waving his hand at them loftily, he addressed 
himself again to Mrs. Gould: "That is what Don Jose says we must 
do. Be enterprising! Work! Grow rich! To put Montero in a cage 
is my work; and when that insignificant piece of business is done, 
then, as Don Jose wishes us, we shall grow rich, one and all, like so 
many Englishmen, because it is money that saves a country, and—" 

But a young officer in a very new uniform, hurrying up from 
the direction of the jetty, interrupted his interpretation of Senor 
Avellanos's ideals. The general made a movement of impatience; 



the other went on talking to him insistently, with an air of respect. 
The horses of tire staff had been embarked, the steamer's gig was 
awaiting die general at the boat steps; and Barrios, after a fierce 
stare of his one eye, began to take leave. Don Jose roused himself 
for an appropriate phrase pronounced mechanically. The terrible 
strain of hope and fear was telling on him, and he seemed to 
husband die last sparks of his fire for diose oratorial efforts of 
which even the distant Europe was to hear. Antonia, her red lips 
firmly closed, averted her head behind die raised fan; and young 
Decoud, diough he felt the girl's eyes upon him, gazed away 
persistendy, hooked on his elbow, widi a scornful and complete 
detachment. Mrs. Gould heroically concealed her dismay at the 
appearance of men and events so remote from her racial 
conventions, dismay too deep to be uttered in words even to her 
husband. She understood his voiceless reserve better now Their 
confidential intercourse fell, not in moments of privacy, but 
precisely in public, when die quick meeting of dieir glances would 
comment upon some fresh turn of events. She had gone to his 
school of uncompromising silence, the only one possible, since so 
much diat seemed shocking, weird, and grotesque in die working 
out of dieir purposes had to be accepted as normal in this count 
ry. Decidedly, die stately Antonia looked more mature and 
infinitely calm; but she would never have known how to reconcile 
die sudden sinkings of her heart with an amiable mobility of 
expression. 

Mrs. Gould smiled a goodbye at Barrios, nodded round to die 
Europeans (who raised dieir hats simultaneously) with an engaging 
invitation, "I hope to see you all presently, at home;" dien said 
nervously to Decoud, "Get in, Don Martin," and heard him 
mutter to himself in French, as he opened the carriage door, "Le 
sort en est jete." She heard him with a sort of exasperation. 
Nobody ought to have known better than himself diat die first cast 
of dice had been already dirown long ago in a most desperate 
game. Distant acclamations, words of command yelled out, and a 
roll of drums on die jetty greeted die departing general. Somediing 
like a slight faintness came over her, and she looked blankly at 
Antonia's still face, wondering what would happen to Charley if 
diat absurd man failed. "A la casa, Ignacio" she cried at die 
motionless broad back of die coachman, who gadiered die reins 
widiout haste, mumbling to himself under his breath, "Si, In casa. 
Si, sinina." 

The carriage rolled noiselessly on die soft track, die shadows 
fell long on die dusty littie plain interspersed with dark bushes, 
mounds of turned-up earth, low wooden buildings with iron roofs 
of die railway company; die sparse row of telegraph poles strode 
obliquely clear of die town, bearing a single, almost invisible wire 
far into the great Campo— like a slender vibrating feeler of diat 



progress waiting outside for a moment of peace to enter and twine 
itself about the weary heart of the land. 

The cafe window of the Albergo d'ltalia Una was full of 
sunburned, whiskered faces of railway men. But at the other end 
of the house, the end of the Signori Inglesi, old Giorgio, at the 
door, with one of his girls on each side, bared his bushy head, as 
white as the snows of Higuerota. Mrs. Gould stopped the carriage. 
She seldom failed to speak to her protege; moreover, the 
excitement, the heat, and the dust had made her thirsty. She asked 
for a glass of water. Giorgio sent the children indoors for it, and 
approached with pleasure expressed in his whole rugged 
countenance. It was not often that he had occasion to see his 
benefactress, who was also an Englishwoman— another title to his 
regard. He offered some excuses for his wife. It was a bad day with 
her; her oppressions— he tapped his own broad chest. She could 
not move from her chair that day. 

Decoud, ensconced in the corner of his seat, observed 
gloomily Mrs. Gould's old revolutionist, then, offhand: 

"Well, and what do you think of it all, Garibaldino?" Old 
Giorgio, looking at him with some curiosity, said, civilly, that the 
troops had marched very well. One-eyed Barrios and his officers 
had done wonders with the recruits in a short time. Those Indios, 
only caught the other day, had gone swinging past in double-quick 
time, like bersaglieri, they looked well led, too, and had whole 
uniforms. "Uniforms!" he repeated with a half smile of pity. A 
look of grim retrospect stole over his piercing, steady eyes. It had 
been otherwise in his time, when men fought against tyranny, in 
the forests of Brazil, or on the plains of Uruguay, starving on half- 
raw beef without salt, half naked, with often only a knife tied to a 
stick for a weapon. "And yet we used to prevail against the 
oppressor," he concluded, proudly. 

His animation fell; tire slight gesture of his hand expressed 
discouragement; but he added that he had asked one of the 
sergeants to show him the new rifle. There was no such weapon in 
his fighting days; and if Barrios could not— 

"Yes, yes," broke in Don Jose, almost trembling with 
eagerness. "We are safe. The good Sefior Viola is a man of 
experience. Extremely deadly— is it not so? You have 
accomplished your mission admirably, my dear Martin." 

Decoud, lolling back moodily, contemplated old Viola. 

"All, yes. A man of experience. But who are you for, really, in 
your heart?" 

Mrs. Gould leaned over to the children. Linda had brought 
out a glass of water on a tray, with extreme care; Giselle presented 
her with a bunch of flowers gathered hastily. 

"For the people," declared old Viola, sternly. 

"We are all for the people— in the end." 



"Yes," muttered old Viola, savagely. "And meantime diey fight 
for you. Blind. Esclavos! ' 

At diat moment young Scarfe of die railway staff emerged from 
die door of die part reserved for die Signori Inglesi. He had come 
down to headquarters from somewhere up the line on a light 
engine, and had had just time to get a hadi and change his clodies. 
He was a nice hoy, and Mrs. Gould welcomed him. 

"It's a delightiul surprise to see you, Mrs. Gould. I've just 
come down. Usual luck. Missed everydiing, of course. This show 
is just over, and I hear diere has heen a great dance at Don Juste 
Lopez's last night. Is it true?" 

"The young patricians," Decoud hegan suddenly in his precise 
English, "have indeed heen dancing before diey started off to the 
war widi die Great Pompev." 

Young Scarfe started, astounded. "You haven't met before," 
Mrs. Gould intervened. "Mr. Decoud— Mr. Scarfe." 

"All! But we are not going to Pharsalia," protested Don Jose, 
widi nervous haste, also in English. "You should not jest like this, 
Martin." 

Antonia's breast rose and fell widi a deeper breadi. The young 
engineer was utterly in die dark. "Great what?" he muttered 
vaguely. 

"Luckily, Montero is not a Caesar," Decoud continued. "Not 
the two Monteros put together would make a decent parody of a 
Caesar." He crossed his arms on his breast, looking at Sefior 
Avellanos, who had returned to his immobility. "It is only you, 
Don Jose, who are a genuine old Roman— vir Romanus— eloquent 
and indexible." 

Since he had heard die name of Montero pronounced, young 
Scarfe had been eager to express his simple feelings. In a loud and 
youdiful tone he hoped that this Montero was going to be licked 
once for all and done widi. There was no saying what would 
happen to die railway if die revolution got die upper hand. 
Perhaps it would have to be abandoned. It would not be die first 
railway gone to pot in Costaguana. "You know, it's one of dieir so- 
called national things," he ran on, wrinkling up his nose as if die 
word had a suspicious flavor to his profound experience of Soudi 
American affairs. And, of course, he chatted widi animation, it had 
been such an immense piece of luck for him at his age to get 
appointed on die staff "of a big tiling like diat— don't you know." It 
would give him die pull over a lot of chaps all dirough life, he 
asserted. "Therefore— down with Montero, Mrs. Gould." His 
artiess grin disappeared slowly before die unanimous gravity of die 
faces turned upon him from die carriage; only diat "old chap." 
Don Jose, presenting a motionless, waxy profile, stared straight on 
as if deaf. Scarfe did not know die Avellanos very ell. They did 
not give balls, and Antonia never appeared at a ground floor 



window, as some other young ladies used to do, attended by elder 
women, to chat with the caballeros on horseback in the Calle. The 
stares of these Creoles did not matter much; but what on earth had 
come to Mrs. Gould? She said. "Go on, Ignacio," and gave him a 
slow inclination of the head. He heard a short laugh from that 
round faced, Frenchified fellow. He colored up to the eyes, and 
stared at Giorgio Viola, who had fallen back with the children, hat 
in hand. 

"I shall w r ant a horse presently," he said with some asperity to 
the old man. 

"Si, senor. There are plenty of horses," murmured the 
Garibaldino, smoothing absently, with his big brown hands, the 
two heads, one dark with bronze glints, the other fair with a 
coppery ripple, of the two girls by his side. The returning stream of 
sightseers raised a great dust on the road. Horsemen noticed the 
group. "Go to your mother," he said. "They are growing up as I 
am growing older, and there is nobody—" 

He looked at the young engineer and stopped, as if awakened 
from a dream; then, folding his arms on his breast, took up his 
usual position, leaning back in the doorway with an upward glance 
fastened on the wiiite shoulder of Higuerota far away. 

In the carriage Martin Decoud, shifting his position as though 
he could not make himself comfortable, muttered as he swayed 
towards Antonia, "I suppose you hate me." Then in a loud voice 
he began to congratulate Don Jose upon all the engineers being 
convinced Ribierists. The interest of all those foreigners was 
gratifying. "You have heard this one. He is an enlightened well 
wisher. It is pleasant to think that the prosperity of Costaguana is 
of some use to the world." 

"He is very young," Mrs. Gould remarked, quietly. 

"And so very wise for his age," retorted Decoud. "But here we 
have die naked truth from the mouth of that child. You are right, 
Don Jose. The natural treasures of Costaguana are of importance 
to the progressive Europe represented by this youth, just as three 
hundred years ago the wealth of our Spanish fathers was a serious 
object to the rest of Europe— as represented by the bold 
buccaneers. There is a curse of futility upon our character: Don 
Quixote and Sancho Panza, chivalry and materialism, high- 
sounding sentiments and a supine morality, violent efforts for an 
idea and a sullen acquiescence in every form of corruption. We 
convulsed a continent for our independence only to become the 
passive prey of a democratic parody, the helpless victims of 
scoundrels and cutthroats, our institutions a mockery, our laws a 
farce— a Guzman Bento our master! And we have sunk so low that 
when a man like you has awakened our conscience, a stupid 
barbarian of a Montero— great Heavens! a Montero!— becomes a 
deadly danger, and an ignorant, boastful Indio, like Barrios, is our 



defender." 

But Don Jose, disregarding die general indictment as diough 
he had not heard a word of it, took up die defence of Barrios. The 
man was competent enough for his special task in the plan of 
campaign. It consisted in an offensive movement, widi Cayta as 
hase, upon die flank of die revolutionist forces advancing from die 
south against Sta. Marta, which was covered by another army widi 
die President-Dictator in its midst. Don Jose became quite 
animated widi a great flow of speech, bending forward anxiously 
under die steady eyes of his daughter. Decoud, as if silenced by so 
much ardor, did not make a sound. The bells of the city were 
striking die hour of Oracion when the carriage rolled under the 
old gateway facing die harbor like a shapeless monument of leaves 
and stones. The rumble of wheels under die sonorous arch was 
traversed by a strange, piercing shriek, and Decoud, from his back 
seat, had a view of the people behind die carriage trudging along 
die road outside, all turning dieir heads, in sombreros and 
rebozos, to look at a locomotive which rolled quickly out of sight 
behind Giorgio Viola's house, under a white trail of steam diat 
seemed to vanish in die breadiless, hysterically prolonged scream 
of warlike triumph. And it was all like a fleeting vision, the 
shrieking ghost of a railway engine fleeing across die frame of die 
archway, behind die starded movement of die people streaming 
back from a military spectacle with silent footsteps on die dust of 
die road. It was a material train returning from die Campo to the 
palisaded yards. The empty cars rolled lighdy on die single track; 
diere was no rumble of wheels, no tremor of the ground. The 
engine driver, running past the Casa Viola widi die salute of an 
uplifted arm, checked his speed smartly before entering die yard; 
and when the earsplitting screech of the steam whistle for the 
brakes had stopped, a series of hard, battering shocks, mingled 
widi die clanking of chain couplings, made a tumult of blows and 
shaken fetters under die vault of die gate. 



V 



THE Gould carriage was die first to return from die harbor to die 
empty town. On die ancient pavement, laid out in patterns, sunk 
into ruts and holes, die pordy Ignacio, mindful of die springs of 
die Parisian-built landau, had pulled up to a walk, and Decoud in 
his corner contemplated moodily die inner aspect of die gate. The 
squat, turreted sides held up between diem a mass of masonry widi 
bunches of grass growing at die top, and a gray, heavily scrolled 
armorial shield of stone above the apex of the arch widi die arms 
of Spain nearly smoodied out, as if in readiness for some new 
device typical of die impending progress. 



The explosive noise of die railway trucks seemed to augment 
Decoud's irritation. He muttered somediing to himself, dien began 
to talk aloud in curt, angry phrases dirown at die silence of die two 
women. They did not look at him at all; while Don Jose, widi his 
semi-translucent, waxy complexion, overshadowed by die soft gray 
hat, swayed a little to die jolts of die carriage by die side of Mrs. 
Gould. 

"This sound puts a new edge on a very old trudi." 

Decoud spoke in French, perhaps because of Ignacio on die 
box above him; the old coachman, widi his broad back filling a 
short silver-braided jacket, had a big pair of ears, whose tiiick rims 
stood well away from his cropped head. 

"Yes, die noise outside die city wall is new, but the principle is 
old." 

He ruminated his discontent for a while, dien began afresh 
widi a sidelong glance at Antonia: 

"No, but just imagine our forefathers in morions and corselets 
drawn up outside diis gate, and a band of adventurers just landed 
from dieir ships in die harbor diere. Thieves, of course. 
Speculators, too. Their expeditions, each one, were die 
speculations of grave and reverend persons in England. That is 
history, as diat absurd sailor Mitchell is always saying." 

"Mitchell's arrangements for die embarkation of die troops 
were excellent!" exclaimed Don Jose. 

"That!— diat! oh, diat's really die work of diat Genoese seaman! 
But to return to my noises; diere used to be in the old days the 
sound of trumpets outside diat gate. War trumpets! I'm sure they 
were trumpets. I have read somewhere diat Drake, who was the 
greatest of diese men, used to dine alone in his cabin on board 
ship to die sound of trumpets. In diose days diis town was full of 
wealdi. Those men came to take it. Now die whole land is like a 
treasure house, and all diese people are breaking into it, while we 
are cutting each odier's diroats. The only tiling diat keeps them 
out is mutual jealousy. But they'll come to an agreement some 
day— and by die time we've settled our quarrels and become 
decent and honorable, there'll be nothing left for us. It has always 
been the same. We are a wonderful people, but it has always been 
our fate to be"— he did not say "robbed," but added, after a pause- 
exploited!" 

Mrs. Gould said, "Oh, diis is unjust!" And Antonia interjected, 
"Don't answer bin, Emilia. He is attacking me." 

"You surely do not diink I was attacking Don Carlos!" Decoud 
answered. 

And dien die carriage stopped before die door of die Casa 
Gould. The young man offered his hand to die ladies. They went 
in first together; Don Jose walked by die side of Decoud, and die 
gouty old porter tottered after diem widi some light wraps on his 



arm. 

Don Jose slipped his hand under die arm of die Journalist of 
Sulaco. 

"The Porvenir must have a long and confident article upon 
Barrios and the irresistihleness of his army of Cayta! The moral 
effect should he kept up in die country. We must cahle 
encouraging extracts to Europe and the United States to maintain a 
favorable impression abroad." 

Decoud muttered, "Oh yes, we must comfort our friends, the 
speculators." 

The long open gallery was in shadow, widi its screen of plants 
in vases along die balustrade, holding out motionless blossoms, 
and all the glass doors of die reception rooms dirown open. A 
jingle of spurs died out at die fardier end. 

Basilio, standing aside against die wall, said in a soft tone to die 
passing ladies, "The Seiior Administrador is just back from the 
mountain." 

In die great sala, with its groups of ancient Spanish and 
modern European furniture making as if different centres under 
the high white spread of die ceiling, die silver and porcelain of die 
tea service gleamed among a cluster of dwarf chairs, like a hit of a 
lady's boudoir, putting in a note of feminine and intimate delicacy. 

Don Jose in his rocking chair placed his hat on his lap, and 
Decoud walked up and down die whole lengdi of die room, 
passing between tables loaded with knickknacks and almost 
disappearing behind die high backs of leadiern sofas. He was 
diinking of the angry face of Antonia; he was confident diat he 
would make his peace with her. He had not stayed in Sulaco to 
quarrel with Antonia. 

Martin Decoud was angry with himself. All he saw and heard 
going on around him exasperated the preconceived views of his 
European civilization. To contemplate revolutions from die 
distance of die Parisian boulevards was quite anodier matter. Here 
on die spot it was not possible to dismiss dieir tragic comedy with 
the expression, "Quelle farce!" 

The reality of die political action, such as it was, seemed closer, 
and acquired poignancy by Antonia's belief in die cause. Its 
crudeness hurt his feelings. He was surprised at his own 
sensitiveness. 

"I suppose I am more of a Costaguanero dian I would have 
believed possible," he diought to himself. 

His disdain grew like a reaction of his scepticism against die 
action into which he was forced by his infatuation for Antonia. He 
soodied himself by saying he was not a patriot, but a lover. 

The ladies came in bareheaded, and Mrs. Gould sank low 
before die little tea table. Antonia took up her usual place at die 
reception hour— die corner of a leathern couch, with a rigid grace 



in her pose and a fan in her hand. Decoud, swerving from the 
straight line of his march, came to lean over the high back of her 
seat. 

For a long time he talked into her ear from behind, softly, with 
a half smile and an air of apologetic familiarity. Her fan lay half 
grasped on her knees. She never looked at him. His rapid 
utterance grew more and more insistent and caressing. At last he 
ventured a slight laugh. 

"No, really. You must forgive me. One must be serious 
sometimes." He paused. She turned her head a little; her blue eyes 
glided slowly towards him, slighdy upward, mollified and 
questioning. 

"You can't think I am serious when I call Montero a gran 
bestia every second day in die Por-venir? That is not a serious 
occupation. No occupation is serious, not even when a bullet 
dirough die heart is die penalty of failure!" 

Her hand closed firmly on her fan. 

"Some reason, you understand— I mean some sense— may 
creep into diinking; some glimpse of trudi. I mean some effective 
trudi, for which diere is no room In politics or journalism. I 
happen to have said what I diought. And you are angry! If you do 
me die kindness to diink a littie you will see tiiat I spoke like a 
patriot." 

She opened her red lips for die first time, not unkindly. 

"Yes, but you never see die aim. Men must be used as diey 
are. I suppose nobody is really disinterested, unless, perhaps, you, 
Don Martin." 

"God forbid! It's die last tiling I should like you to believe of 
me." He spoke lightly, and paused. 

She began to fan herself with a slow movement without raising 
her hand. After a time he whispered passionately: 

"Antonia!" 

She smiled, and extended her hand after die English manner 
towards Charles Gould, who was bowing before her; while 
Decoud, with his elbows spread on die back of die sofa, dropped 
his eyes and murmured, " Bon jour." 

The Sefior Administrador of die San Tome mine bent over his 
wife for a moment. They exchanged a few words, of which only 
die phrase, "The greatest endiusiasm," pronounced by Mrs. 
Gould, could be heard. 

"Yes," Decoud began in a murmur. "Even he!" 

"This is sheer calumny," said Antonia, not very severely. 

"You just ask him to dirow his mine into the melting pot for 
the great cause," Decoud whispered. 

Don Jose had raised his voice. He rubbed his hands cheerily. 
The excellent aspect of the troops and die great quantity of new 
deadly rifles, on die shoulders of diose brave men seemed to fill 



him with an ecstatic confidence. 

Charles Gould, very tall and thin hefore his chair, listened, hut 
nothing could he discovered in his face except a kind and 
deferential attention. 

Meantime, Antonia had risen, and, crossing the room, stood 
looking out of one of the three long windows giving on the street. 
Decoud followed her. The window was thrown open, and he 
leaned against the thickness of the wall. The long folds of the 
damask curtain, falling straight from the hroad hrass cornice, hid 
him partly from the room. He folded his arms on his hreast and 
looked steadily at Antonia's profile. 

The people returning from the harbor filled the pavements; 
the shuffle of sandals and a low murmur of voices ascended to the 
window. Now and then a coach rolled slowly along the disjointed 
roadway of the Calle de la Constitution. There were not many 
private carriages in Sulaco; at the most crowded hour on the 
Alameda they could be counted with one glance of the eye. The 
great family arks swayed on high leathern springs, full of pretty 
powdered faces in which the eyes looked intensely alive and black. 
And first, Don Juste Lopez, the President of the Provincial 
Assemhly, passed with his three lovely daughters, solemn in a 
black frockcoat and still white tie, as when directing a debate from 
a high tribune. Though they all raised their eyes, Antonia did not 
make the usual greeting gesture of a fluttered hand, and they 
affected not to see the two young people, Costaguaneros with 
European manners, whose eccentricities were discussed behind 
the barred windows of the first families in Sulaco. And then the 
widowed Senora Gavilaso de Valdes rolled by, handsome and 
dignified, in a great machine in which she used to travel to and 
from her country house, surrounded by an armed retinue in 
leather suits and big sombreros, with carbines at the bows of their 
saddles. She was a woman of most distinguished family, proud, 
rich, and kindhearted. Her second son, Jaime, had just gone off on 
the staff of Barrios. The eldest, a worthless fellow of a moody 
disposition, filled Sulaco with the noise of his dissipations and 
gambled heavily at the club. The two youngest boys, with yellow 
Ribierist cockades in their caps, sat on the front seat. She, too, 
affected not to see the Senor Decoud talking publicly with Antonia 
in defiance of every convention. And he not even her novio as far 
as the world knew! Though, even in that case, it would have been 
scandal enough. But the dignified old lady, respected and admired 
by the first families, would have been still more shocked if she 
could have heard the words they were exchanging. 

"Did you say I lost sight of the aim? I have only one aim in the 
world." 

She made an almost imperceptible negative movement of her 
head, still staring across the street at the Avellanos's house, gray, 



marked with decay, and with iron bars like a prison. 

"And it would be so easy of attainment," he continued, "this 
aim which, whether knowingly or not, I have always had in my 
heart— ever since die day when you snubbed me so horribly once 
in Paris, you remember." 

A slight smile seemed to move die corner of die lip diat was on 
his side. 

"You know you were a very terrible person, a sort of Charlotte 
Corday in a schoolgirl's dress; a ferocious patriot. I suppose you 
would have stuck a knife into Guzman Bento?" 

She interrupted him. "You do me too much honor." 

"At any rate," he said, changing suddenly to a tone of bitter 
levity, "you would have sent me to stab him without compunction." 

"All, par example!" she murmured. 

"Well," he argued mockingly, "you do keep me here writing 
deadly nonsense. Deadly to me! It has already killed my self- 
respect. And you may imagine," he continued, his tone passing 
into light banter, "that Montero, should he be successful, would get 
even with me in the only way such a brute can get even with a man 
of intelligence who condescends to call him a gran bestia diree 
times a week. It's a sort of intellectual death; but tiiere is die odier 
one in die background for a journalist of my ability." 

"If he is successful!" said Antonia, dioughtfully. 

"You seem satisfied to see my life hang on a diread," Decoud 
replied, with a broad smile. "And the other Montero, die 'my 
trusted brodier' of die proclamations, die guerrillero— haven't I 
written diat he was taking die guests' overcoats and changing plates 
in Paris at our Legation in die intervals of spying on our refugees 
tiiere, in die time of Rojas? He will wash out diat sacred trudi in 
blood. In my blood! Why do you look annoyed? This is simply a 
bit of die biography of one of our great men. What do you diink 
he will do to me? There is a certain convent wall round die corner 
of die Plaza, opposite die door of die Bull Ring. You know? 
Opposite the door with die inscription, 'Intrada de la Sombra.' 
Appropriate, perhaps! That's where the uncle of our host gave up 
his Anglo-Soudi-American soul. And, note, he might have run 
away. A man who has fought with weapons may run away. You 
might have let me go with Barrios if you had cared for me. I would 
have carried one of diose rifles, in which Don Jose believes, with 
the greatest satisfaction, in die ranks of poor peons and Indios. 
diat know nodiing eidier of reason or politics. The most forlorn 
hope in die most forlorn army on eardi would have been safer 
than that for which you made me stay here. When you make war 
you may retreat, but not when you spend your time in inciting 
poor ignorant fools to kill and to die." His tone remained light, 
and as if unaware of his presence she stood motionless, her hands 
clasped lighdy, die fan hanging down from her interlaced fingers. 



He waited for a while, and dien: 

"I shall go to die wall," he said, with a sort of jocular 
desperation. 

Even diat declaration did not make her look at him. Her head 
remained still, her eyes fixed upon die house of die Avellanos, 
whose chipped pilasters, broken cornices, die whole degradation 
of dignity was hidden now by the gathering dusk of die street. In 
her whole figure her lips alone moved, forming die words: 

"Martin, you will make me cry." 

He remained silent for a minute, startled, as if overwhelmed by 
a sort of awed happiness, widi die lines of die mocking smile still 
stiffened about his mouth, and incredulous surprise in his eyes. 
The value of a sentence is in die personality which utters it, for 
nothing new can be said by man or woman; and diose were die last 
words, it seemed to him, diat could ever have been spoken by 
Antonia. He had never made it up widi her so completely in all 
their intercourse of small encounters; but even before she had 
time to turn towards him, which she did slowly widi a rigid grace, 
he had begun to plead: 

"My sister is only waiting to embrace you. My fatiier is 
transported. I won't say anydiing of my modier! Our mothers were 
like sisters. There is the mail boat for die soudi next week— let us 
go. That Moraga is a fool! A man like Montero is bribed. It's die 
practice of die country. It's tradition— it's politics. Read Fifty Years 
of Misrule" 

"Leave poor papa alone, Don Martin. He believes—" 

"I have die greatest tenderness for your father," he began, 
hurriedly. "But I love you, Antonia! And Moraga has miserably 
mismanaged diis business. Perhaps your fatiier did, too, I don't 
know. Montero was bribable Why, I suppose he only wanted his 
share of this famous loan for national development. Why didn't 
die stupid Sta. Marta people give him a mission to Europe, or 
somediing? He would have taken five years' salary in advance, and 
[gone] on loafing in Paris, this stupid, ferocious Indio!" 

"The man," she said, dioughtfully, and very calm before this 
outburst, "was intoxicated widi vanity. We had all die information, 
not from Moraga only; from odiers, too. There was his brodier 
intriguing, too." 

"Oh yes!" he said. "Of course you know. You know 
everytiiing. You read all die correspondence, you write all die 
papers— all diose state papers diat are inspired here, in diis room, 
in blind deference to a theory of political purity. Hadn't you 
Charles Gould before your eyes? Rey de Sulaco! He and his mine 
are die practical demonstration of what could have been done. Do 
you think he succeeded by his fidelity to a dieory of virtue? And all 
diose railway people, widi tiieir honest work! Of course, dieir work 
is honest! But what if you cannot work honesdy till die diieves are 



satisfied? Could he not, a gendeman, have told diis Sir John what's 
his name, that Montero had to bought off— he and all his Negro 
Liberals hanging on to his gold-laced sleeve? He ought to have 
been bought off widi his own stupid weight of gold— his weight of 
gold, I tell you, boots, sabre, spurs, cocked hat and all." 

She shook her head slighdy. "It was impossible," she 
murmured. 

"He wanted the whole lot? What?" 

She was facing him now in die deep recess of die window, very 
close and motionless. Her lips moved rapidly. Decoud, leaning his 
head back against die wall, listened with crossed arms and lowered 
eyelids. He drank in die tones of her even voice, and watched the 
agitated life of her throat, as if waves of emotion had run from her 
heart to pass out into die air in her reasonable words. He also had 
his aspirations; he aspired to carry her away out of these deadly 
futilities of pronunciamientos and reforms. All this was wrong- 
utterly wrong; but she fascinated him, and sometimes the sheer 
sagacity of a phrase would break die charm, replace die fascination 
by a sudden unwilling thrill of interest. Some women hovered, as it 
were, on die threshold of genius, he reflected. They did not want 
to know, or think, or understand. Passion stood for all that, and he 
was ready to believe that some startlingly profound remark, some 
appreciation of character, or a judgment upon an event, bordered 
on die miraculous. In die mature Antonia he could see with an 
extraordinary vividness the austere schoolgirl of die earlier days. 
She seduced his attention: sometimes he could not restrain a 
murmur of assent; now and then he advanced an objection quite 
seriously. Gradually they began to argue; die curtain half hid them 
from die people in die sala. 

Outside it had grown dark. From die deep trench of shadow 
between die houses, lit up vaguely by die glimmer of streetlamps, 
ascended die evening silence of Sulaco; die silence of a town with 
few carriages, of unshod horses, and a softly sandaled population. 
The windows of die Casa Gould flung their shining parallelograms 
upon die house of die Avellanos. Now and then a shuffle of feet 
passed below with die pulsating red glow of a cigarette at the foot 
of die walls; and die night air, as if cooled by die snows of 
Higuerota, refreshed their faces. 

"We Occidentals," said Martin Decoud, using the usual term 
die provincials of Sulaco applied to themselves, "have been always 
distinct and separated. As long as we hold Cayta nothing can reach 
us. In all our troubles no army has marched over those mountains. 
A revolution in the central provinces isolates us at once. Look how 
complete it is now! The news of Barrios's movement will be 
cabled to the United States, and only in that way will it reach Sta. 
Marta by the cable from the other seaboard. We have the greatest 
riches, the greatest fertility, die purest blood in our great families, 



die most laborious population. The Occidental Province should 
stand alone. The early Federalism was not bad for us. Then came 
this union which Don Henrique Gould resisted. It opened the 
road to tyranny; and, ever since, the rest of Costaguana hangs like 
a millstone round our necks. The Occidental territory is large 
enough to make any man's country. Look at the mountains! 
Nature itself seems to cry to us, 'Separate!'" 

She made an energetic gesture of negation. A silence fell. 

"Oh yes, I know it's contrary to the doctrine laid down in the 
History of Fifty Years of Misrule. I am only trying to be sensible. 
But my sense seems always to give you cause for offence. Have I 
startled you very much with this perfectly reasonable aspiration?" 

She shook her head. No, she was not startled, but the idea 
shocked her early convictions. Her patriotism was larger. She had 
never considered that possibility. 

"It may yet be the means of saving some of your convictions," 
he said, prophetically. 

She did not answer. She seemed tired. They leaned side by 
side on the rail of the little balcony, very friendly, having exhausted 
politics, giving themselves up to the silent feeling of their nearness, 
in one of those profound pauses that fall upon the rhythm of 
passion. Towards the plaza end of the street the glowing coals in 
the brazeros of the market women cooking their evening meal 
gleamed red along the edge of the pavement. A man appeared 
without a sound in the light of a street lamp, showing the colored 
inverted triangle of his bordered poncho, square on his shoulders, 
hanging to a point below his knees. From the harbor end of the 
calle a horseman walked his soft-stepping mount, gleaming silver- 
gray abreast each lamp under the dark shape of the rider. 

"Behold die illustrious capataz de cargadores." said Decoud, 
gently, "coming in all his splendor after his work is done. The next 
great man of Sulaco after Don Carlos Gould. But he is good- 
natured, and let me make friends with him." 

"All, indeed!" said Antonia. "How did you make friends?" 

"A journalist ought to have his finger on die popular pulse, and 
this man is one of die leaders of die populace. A journalist ought 
to know remarkable men— and this man is remarkable in his way." 

"All, yes!" said Antonia, thoughtfully. "It is known diat this 
Italian has a great influence." 

The horseman had passed below diem, with a gleam of dim 
light on the shining broad quarters of die gray mare, on a bright 
heavy stirrup, on a long silver spur; but die short flick of yellowish 
flame in die dusk was powerless against die muffled up 
mysteriousness of die dark figure with an invisible face concealed 
by a great sombrero. 

Decoud and Antonia remained leaning over die balcony, side 
by side, touching elbows, with dieir heads overhanging die 



darkness of the street, and die brilliandy lighted sala at dieir backs. 
This was a tete-a-tete of extreme impropriety; somediing of which 
in die whole extent of die republic only die extraordinary Antonia 
could be capable— die poor, motherless girl, never accompanied, 
widi a careless fadier, who had diought only of making her 
learned. Even Decoud himself seemed to feel diat diis was as 
much as he could expect of having her to himself till— till die 
revolution was over and he could carry her off to Europe, away 
from die endlessness of civil strife, whose folly seemed even 
harder to bear dian its ignominy. After one Montero diere would 
be another, die lawlessness of a populace of all colors and races, 
barbarism, irremediable tyranny. As the great Liberator Bolivar 
had said in die bitterness of his spirit, "America is ungovernable. 
Those who worked for her independence have ploughed the sea." 
He did not care, he declared boldly; he seized every opportunity 
to tell her diat diough she had managed to make a Blanco 
journalist of him, he was no patriot. First of all, die word had no 
sense for cultured minds, to whom die narrowness of every belief 
is odious; and secondly, in connection with die everlasting troubles 
of diis unhappy country it was hopelessly besmirched; it had been 
die cry of dark barbarism, the cloak of lawlessness, of crimes, of 
rapacity, of simple diieving. 

He was surprised at die warmdi of his own utterance. He had 
no need to drop his voice; it had been low all the time, a mere 
murmur in die silence of dark houses with dieir shutters closed 
early against die night air, as is die custom of Sulaco. Only die sala 
of die Casa Gould flung out defiandy die blaze of its four windows, 
die bright appeal of light in die whole dumb obscurity of die street. 
And die murmur on die littie balcony went on after a short pause. 

"But we are laboring to change all diat," Antonia protested. "It 
is exacdy what we desire. It is our object. It is the great cause. And 
the word you despise had stood also for sacrifice, for courage, for 
constancy, for suffering. Papa, who—" 

"Ploughing die sea," interrupted Decoud, looking down. 

There was below die sound of hasty and ponderous footsteps. 

"Your uncle, die Grand Vicar of die Catiiedral, has just turned 
under die gate," observed Decoud. "He said mass for die troops in 
die Plaza diis morning. They had built for him an altar of drums, 
you know. And diey brought outside all the painted blocks to take 
the air. All the wooden saints stood militarily in a row at die top of 
die great flight of steps. They looked like a gorgeous escort 
attending the Vicar General. I saw die great function from the 
windows of die Povenir. He is amazing, your uncle, the last of die 
Corbelans. He glittered exceedingly in his vestments, with a great 
crimson velvet cross down his back. And all die time our savior 
Barrios sat in die Amarilla Club drinking punch at an open 
window. Esprit fort— our Barrios. I expected every moment your 



uncle to launch an excommunication there and then at the black 
eye patch in the window across the Plaza. But not at all. Ultimately 
the troops marched off. Later on Barrios came down with some of 
the officers, and stood with his uniform all unbuttoned, 
discoursing at the edge of the pavement. Suddenly your uncle 
appeared, no longer glittering, but all black, at the cathedral door, 
with that threatening aspect he has— you know, like a sort of 
avenging spirit. He gives one look, strides over straight at the group 
of uniforms, and leads away the general by the elbow. He walked 
him for a quarter of an hour in the shade of a wall. Never let go his 
elbow for a moment, talking all the time with exaltation, and 
gesticulating with a long black arm. It was a curious scene. The 
officers seemed struck with astonishment. Remarkable man, your 
missionary uncle. He hates an infidel much less than a heretic, and 
prefers a heathen many times to an infidel. He condescends 
graciously to call me a heathen, sometimes, you know." 

Antonia listened with her hands over the balustrade, opening 
and shutting the fan gently; and Decoud talked a little nervously, as 
if afraid that she would leave him at the first pause. Their 
comparative isolation, the precious sense of intimacy, the slight 
contact of their arms, affected him softly; for now and then a 
tender inflection crept into the flow of his ironic murmurs. 

"Any slight sign of favor from a relative of yours is welcome, 
Antonia. And perhaps he understands me, after all! But I know 
him, too, our Padre Corbelan. The idea of political honor, justice, 
and honesty for him consists in the restitution of the confiscated 
church property. Nothing else could have drawn that fierce 
converter of savage Indians out of the wilds to work for the 
Ribierist cause! Nothing else but that wild hope! He would make a 
pronunciamiento himself for such an object against any 
government if he could only get followers! What does Don Carlos 
Gould think of that? But, of course, with his English 
impenetrability, nobody can tell what he thinks. Probably he thinks 
of nothing apart from his mine, of his 'Imperium in imperio.' As 
to Mrs. Gould, she thinks of her schools, of her hospitals, of the 
mothers with the young babies, of every sick old man in the three 
villages. If you were to turn your head now you would see her 
extracting a report from that sinister doctor in a check shirt— what's 
his name? Monygham— or else catechising Don Pepe, or perhaps 
listening to Padre Roman. They are all down here today— all her 
ministers of state. Well, she is a sensible woman, and perhaps Don 
Carlos is a sensible man. It's a part of solid English sense not to 
think too much; to see only what may be of practical use at the 
moment. These people are not like ourselves. We have no 
political reason; we have political passions— sometimes. What is a 
conviction? A particular view of our personal advantage either 
practical or emotional. No one is a patriot for nothing. The word 



serves us well. But I am clear-sighted, and I shall not use that word 
to you, Antonia! I have no patriotic illusions. I have only the 
supreme illusion of a lover." 

He paused, then muttered almost inaudibly, "That can lead 
one very far, though." 

Behind their hacks the political tide that once in every twenty- 
four hours set with a strong flood through the Gould drawing 
room could he heard, rising higher in a hum of voices Men had 
heen dropping in singly, or in twos and threes; the higher officials 
of the province, engineers of the railway, sunburned and in tweeds, 
with the frosted head of their chief smiling with slow humorous 
indulgence among the young eager faces. Scarfe, the lover of 
fandangos, had already slipped out in search of some dance, no 
matter where, on the outskirts of the town. Don Juste Lopez, after 
taking his daughters home, had entered solemnly, in a black 
creased coat buttoned up under his spreading brown beard. The 
few members of the Provincial Assemhly present clustered at once 
around their President to discuss the news of the war and the last 
proclamation of the rehel Montero, the miserable Montero, calling 
in the name of "a justly incensed democracy" upon all the 
Provincial Assemblies of the repuhlic to suspend their sittings till 
his sword had made peace and the will of the people could be 
consulted. It was practically an invitation to dissolve; an unheard-of 
audacity of that evil madman. 

The indignation ran high in the knot of deputies behind Jose 
Avellanos. Don Jose, lifting up his voice, cried out to them over 
the high hack of his chair, "Sulaco has answered by sending today 
an army upon his flank. If all the other provinces show only half as 
much patriotism as we Occidentals—" 

A great outburst of acclamations covered the vibrating treble of 
the life and soul of the party. Yes, yes! This was true! A great truth! 
Sulaco was in the forefront, as ever! It was a boastful tumult, the 
hopefulness inspired by the event of the day hreaking out among 
those caballeros of the Campo thinking of their herds, of their 
lands, of the safety of their families. Everything was at stake. . . . 
No! It was impossible that Montero should succeed! This criminal, 
this shameless Indio! The clamor continued for some time, 
everybody else in the room looking towards the group where Don 
Juste had put on his air of impartial solemnity as if presiding at a 
sitting of the Provincial Assemhly. Decoud had turned round at 
the noise, and, leaning his hack on the balustrade, shouted into the 
room with all the strength of his lungs, " Gran' bestial" 

This unexpected cry had the effect of stilling the noise. All the 
eyes were directed to the window with an approving expectation; 
but Decoud had already turned his back upon the room, and was 
again leaning out over the quiet street. 

"This is the quintessence of my journalism; that is the supreme 



argument," he said to Antonia. "I have invented this definition, this 
last word on a great question. But I am no patriot. I am no more 
of a patriot than the capataz of the Sulaco cargadores, this Genoese 
who has done such great tilings for this harhor— this active usher-in 
of the material implements for our progress. You have heard 
Captain Mitchell confess over and over again that till he got this 
man he could never tell how long it would take to unload a ship. 
That is had for progress. You have seen him pass hy after his 
lahors, on his famous horse, to dazzle tire girls in some hallroom 
with an earthen floor. He is a fortunate fellow! His work is an 
exercise of personal powers; his leisure is spent in receiving the 
marks of extraordinary adulation. And he likes it, too. Can 
anybody be more fortunate? To be feared and admired is—" 

"And are these your highest aspirations, Don Martin?" 
interrupted Antonia. 

"I was speaking of a man of that sort," said Decoud, curtly. 
"The heroes of the world have been feared and admired. What 
more could he want?" 

Decoud had often felt his familiar habit of ironic thought fall 
shattered against Antonia' s gravity. She irritated him as if she, too, 
had suffered from that inexplicable feminine obtuseness which 
stands so often between a man and a woman of the more ordinary 
sort. But he overcame his vexation at once. He was very far from 
thinking Antonia ordinary, whatever verdict his scepticism might 
have pronounced upon himself. With a touch of penetrating 
tenderness in his voice he assured her that his only aspiration was 
to a felicity so high that it seemed almost unrealizable on this earth. 

She colored invisibly, with a warmth against which the breeze 
from the sierra seemed to have lost its cooling power in the 
sudden melting of the snows. His whisper could not have carried 
so far, though there was enough ardor in his tone to melt a heart of 
ice. Antonia turned away abruptly, as if to carry his whispered 
assurance into the room behind, full of light, noisy with voices. 

The tide of political speculation was beating high within the 
four walls of the great sala, as if driven beyond the marks by a great 
gust of hope. Don Juste's fan-shaped beard was still the centre of 
loud and animated discussions. There was a self-confident ring in 
all the voices. Even the few Europeans around Charles Gould— a 
Dane, a couple of Frenchmen, a discreet fat German, smiling, with 
downcast eyes, the representatives of those material interests that 
had got a footing in Sulaco under the protecting might of the San 
Tome mine— had infused a lot of good humor into their deference. 
Charles Gould, to whom they were paying their court, was the 
visible sign of the stability that could be achieved on the shifting 
ground of revolutions. They felt hopeful about their various 
undertakings. One of the two Frenchmen, small, black, with 
glittering eyes lost in an immense growth of bushy beard, waved his 



tin)' brown hands and delicate wrists. He had been travelling in the 
interior of the province for a syndicate of European capitalists. His 
forcible "Monsieur l'Administrateuf returning every minute 
shrilled above the steady hum of conversations. He was relating his 
discoveries. He was ecstatic. Charles Gould glanced down at him 
courteously. 

At a given moment of these necessary receptions it was Mrs. 
Gould's habit to withdraw quietly into a little drawing room, 
especially her own, next to the great sala. She had risen, and, 
waiting for Antonia, listened with a slightly worried graciousness to 
the engineer-in-chief of the railway, who stooped over her, relating 
slowly, without the slightest gesture, something apparently amusing, 
for his eyes had a humorous twinkle. Antonia, before she 
advanced into the room to join Mrs. Gould, turned her head over 
her shoulder towards Decoud, only for a moment. 

"Why should any one of us think his aspirations unrealizable?" 
she said, rapidly. 

"I am going to cling to mine to the end, Antonia," he 
answered, through clinched teeth, then bowed very low, a little 
distantly. 

The engineer-in-chief had not finished telling his amusing 
story. The humors of railway building in South America appealed 
to his keen appreciation of the absurd, and he told his instances of 
ignorant prejudice and as ignorant cunning very well. Now, Mrs. 
Gould gave him all her attention as he walked by her side escorting 
the ladies out of the room. Finally all three passed unnoticed 
through the glass doors in the gallery. Only a tall priest stalking 
silently in tire noise of the sala checked himself to look after them. 
Father Corbelan, whom Decoud had seen from tire balcony 
turning into tire gateway of tire Casa Gould, had addressed no one 
since coming in. The long, skimpy soutane accentuated the tallness 
of his stature; he carried his powerful torso thrown forward; and 
the straight, black bar of his joined eyebrows, tire pugnacious 
outline of tire bony face, the white spot of a scar on the bluish 
shaven cheeks (a testimonial to his apostolic zeal from a party of 
unconverted Indians), suggested something unlawful behind his 
priesthood, the idea of a chaplain of bandits. 

He separated his bony, knotted hands clasped behind his 
back, to shake his finger at Martin. 

Decoud had stepped into the room after Antonia But he did 
not go far. He had remained just within, against tire curtain, with 
an expression of not quite genuine gravity, like a grownup person 
taking part in a game of children. He gazed quietly at the 
threatening finger. 

"I have watched your reverence converting General Barrios by 
a special sermon on tire Plaza," he said, without making the 
slightest movement. 



"What miserable nonsense!" Father Corbelan's deep voice 
resounded all over the room, making all the heads turn on the 
shoulders. "The man is a drunkard. Sehores, the God of your 
general is a botde!" 

His contemptuous, arbitrary voice caused an uneasy 
suspension of every sound, as if die self-confidence of die 
gathering had been staggered by a blow. But nobody took up 
Fadier Corbelan's declaration. 

It was known that Father Corbelan had come out of die wilds 
to advocate die sacred rights of die Church with die same fanatical 
fearlessness with which he had gone preaching to bloodthirsty 
savages, devoid of human compassion or worship of any kind. 
Rumors of legendary proportions told of his successes as a 
missionary beyond the eye of Christian men. He had baptized 
whole nations of Indians, living with them like a savage himself. It 
was related that die padre used to ride with his Indians for days, 
half naked, earning a bullock hide shield, and, no doubt, a long 
lance, too— who knows? That he had wandered clodied in skins, 
seeking for proselytes somewhere near die snowline of die 
Cordillera. Of diese exploits Padre Corbelan himself was never 
known to talk. But he made no secret of his opinion diat the 
politicians of Sta. Marta had harder hearts and more corrupt 
minds dian die headien to whom he had carried die word of God. 
His injudicious zeal for the temporal welfare of die Church was 
damaging die Ribierist cause. It was common knowledge that he 
had refused to be made titular bishop of the Occidental diocese till 
justice was done to a despoiled Church. The political Gefe of 
Sulaco (the same dignitary whom Captain Mitchell saved from die 
mob afterwards) hinted with naive cynicism that doubdess dieir 
Excellencies die Ministers sent die padre over die mountains to 
Sulaco in die worst season of die year in die hope diat he would be 
frozen to deadi by die icy blasts of die high paramos. Every year a 
few hardy muleteers— men inured to exposure— were known to 
perish in diat way. But what would you have? Their Excellencies 
possibly had not realized what a tough priest he was. Meantime die 
ignorant were beginning to murmur diat die Ribierist reforms 
meant simply die taking away of die land from die people. Some 
of it was to be given to foreigners who made die railway; die greater 
part was to go to the padres. 

These were die results of die Grand Vicar's zeal. Even from 
the short allocution to die troops on die Plaza (which only die first 
ranks could have heard) he had not been able to keep out his fixed 
idea of an outraged Church waiting for reparation from a penitent 
country. The political Gefe had been exasperated. But he could 
not very well dirow die brodier-indaw of Don Jose into die prison 
of die Cabildo. The chief magistrate, an easygoing and popular 
official, visited die Casa Gould, walking over after sunset from die 



Intendencia, unattended, acknowledging with dignified courtesy 
die salutations of high and low alike. That evening he had walked 
straight up to Charles Gould and had hissed out to him that he 
would have liked to deport the Grand Vicar out of Sulaco, 
anywhere, to some desert island, to the Isahels, for instance "The 
one without water preferahly— eh, Don Carlos?" lie had added, in a 
tone hetween jest and earnest. This uncontrollable priest, who had 
rejected his offer of the episcopal palace for a residence and 
preferred to hang his shabby hammock among the ruhhle and 
spiders of the sequestrated Dominican convent, had taken into his 
head to advocate an unconditional pardon for Hernandez the 
Robber! And this was not enough; he seemed to have entered into 
communication with the most audacious criminal the country had 
known for years. The Sulaco police knew, of course, what was 
going on. Padre Corbelan had got hold of that reckless Italian, tire 
capataz de cargadores, tire only man fit for such an errand, and 
had sent a message through him. Father Corbelan had studied in 
Rome, and could speak Italian. The capataz was known to visit the 
old Dominican convent at night. An old woman who served the 
Grand Vicar had heard the name of Hernandez pronounced; and 
only last Saturday afternoon the capataz had heen observed 
galloping out of town. He did not return for two days. The police 
would have laid the Italian by the heels if it had not been for fear 
of the cargadores, a turbulent body of men, quite apt to raise a 
tumult. Nowadays it was not so easy to govern Sulaco. Bad 
characters flocked into it, attracted by the money in the pockets of 
the railway workmen. The populace was made restless by Father 
Corbelan's discourses. And the first magistrate explained to 
Charles Gould that now the province was stripped of troops any 
outbreak of lawlessness would find the authorities with their boots 
off, as it were. 

Then he went away moodily to sit in an armchair, smoking a 
long, thin cigar, not very far from Don Jose, with whom, bending 
over sideways he exchanged a few words from time to time. He 
ignored the entrance of the priest, and whenever Father 
Corbelan's voice was raised behind him, he shrugged his shoulders 
impatiently. 

Father Corbelan had remained quite motionless for a time, 
with that something vengeful in his immobility which seemed to 
characterize all his attitudes. A lurid glow of strong convictions 
gave its peculiar aspect to the black figure. But its fierceness 
became softened as the padre, fixing his eyes upon Decoud, raised 
his long, black arm slowly, impressively: 

"And you— you are a perfect heathen," he said, in a subdued, 
deep voice. 

He made a step nearer, pointing a forefinger at the young 
man's breast. Decoud, very calm, felt the wall behind the curtain 



with the back of his head. Then, with his chin tilted well up, he 
smiled. 

"Very well," he agreed with the slightly weary nonchalance of a 
man well used to these passages. "But is it not perhaps that you 
have not discovered yet what is the God of my worship? It was an 
easier task with our Barrios." 

The priest suppressed a gesture of discouragement. "You 
believe neither in stick nor stone," he said. 

"Nor bottle," added Decoud without stirring. "Neither does 
the other of your reverence's confidants. I mean the capataz of the 
cargadores. He does not drink. Your reading of my character does 
honor to your perspicacity. But why call me a heathen?" 

"True," retorted the priest. "You are ten times worse. A 
miracle could not convert you." 

"I certainly do not believe in miracles," said Decoud, quietly. 
Father Corbelan shrugged his high, broad shoulders doubtfully. 

"A sort of Frenchman— godless— a materialist," he pronounced 
slowly, as if weighing the terms of a careful analysis. "Neither the 
son of his own country nor of any other," he continued, 
thoughtfully. 

"Scarcely human, in fact," Decoud commented under his 
breath, his head at rest against the wall, his eyes gazing up at the 
ceiling. 

"The victim of this faithless age," Father Corbelan resumed in 
a deep but subdued voice. 

"But of some use as a journalist." Decoud changed his pose 
and spoke in a more animated tone. "Has your worship neglected 
to read the last number of the Porvenir? I assure you it is just like 
the others. On the general policy it continues to call Montero a 
gran' bestia, and stigmatize his brother, the guerrillero, for a 
combination of lackey and spy. What could be more effective? In 
local affairs it urges the provincial government to enlist bodily into 
the national army the band of Hernandez the Robber— who is 
apparently the protege of the Church— or at least of the Great 
Vicar. Nothing could be more sound." 

The priest nodded, and turned on the heels of his square toed 
shoes with big steel buckles. Again, with his hands clasped behind 
his back, he paced about, planting his feet firmly. When he swung 
about, the skirt of his soutane was inflated slightly by the briskness 
of his movements. 

The great sala had been emptying itself slowly. When the Gefe 
Politico rose to go, most of those still remaining stood up suddenly 
in sign of respect, and Don Jose Avellanos stopped the rocking of 
his chair. But the good natured First Official made a deprecatory 
gesture, waved his hand to Charles Gould, and went out discreetly. 

In the comparative peace of the room the screaming 
" Monsieur I'Adininisti ate ur" of the frail, hairy Frenchman seemed 



to acquire a preternatural shrillness. The explorer of tire capitalist 
syndicate was still enthusiastic. "Ten million dollars' worth of 
copper practically in sight, Monsieur 1' Administrate ur. Ten 
millions in sight! And a railway conring— a railway! They will never 
helieve my report. C'est trop beau" He fell a prey to a screanring 
ecstasy, in tire nridst of sagely nodding heads, before Charles 
Gould's imperturbable calm. 

And only tire priest continued his pacing, flinging round tire 
skirt of his soutane at each end of his beat. Decoud nrurnrured to 
him ironically, "These gentlemen talk about their gods." 

Father Corbelan stopped short, looked at tire Journalist of 
Sulaco fixedly for a moment, shrugged his shoulders slightly, and 
resunred his plodding walk of an obstinate traveler. 

And now the Europeans were dropping off from tire group 
around Charles Gould till tire adnrinistrador of tire great silver 
mine could be seen in his whole lank length, from head to foot, 
left stranded by tire ebbing tide of his guests on tire great square of 
carpet, as it were a multicolored shoal of flowers and arabesques 
under his brown boots. Father Corbelan approached tire rocking 
chair of Don Jose Avellanos. 

"Come, brother," he said, with kindly brusqueness and a touch 
of relieved impatience a man may feel at tire end of a perfectly 
useless ceremony. "A la casa! A la casaf This has been all talk. Let 
us now go and think and pray for guidance from Heaven." 

He rolled his black eyes upward. By tire side of tire frail 
diplomatist— tire life and soul of tire party— he seenred gigantic, with 
a gleam of fanaticism in tire glance. But tire voice of tire party, or, 
rather its mouthpiece, tire "son Decoud" from Paris, turned 
journalist for tire sake of Antonia's eyes, knew very well that it was 
not so, that he was only a strenuous priest with one idea, feared by 
tire women and execrated by tire men of tire people. Martin 
Decoud, tire dilettante in life, imagined himself to derive an artistic 
pleasure fronr watching tire picturesque extreme of wrong 
headedness into which an honest, almost sacred conviction may 
drive a man. "It is like madness. It nrust be— because it's self 
destructive," Decoud had said to himself often. It seenred to him 
that every conviction, as soon as it becanre effective, turned into 
that form of dementia tire gods sent upon those they wish to 
destroy. But he enjoyed tire bitter flavor of that exanrple with the 
zest of a connoisseur in the art of his choice. Those two nren got 
on well together, as if each had felt respectively that a masterful 
conviction, as well as utter scepticism, may lead a man very far on 
tire bypaths of political action. 

Don Jose obeyed tire touch of tire big hairy hand. Decoud 
followed out tire brothers-in-law. And there renrained only one 
visitor in tire vast empty sala, bluishly hazy with tobacco snroke, a 
heavy eyed, round cheeked man, with a drooping mustache, a hide 



merchant from Esmeralda, who had come overland to Sulaco, 
riding widi a few peons across the coast range. He was very full of 
his journey, undertaken mostly for die purpose of seeing die Sehor 
Administrador of San Tome in relation to some assistance he 
required in his hide exporting husiness. He hoped to enlarge it 
gready now diat die country was going to he setded. It was going to 
he setded, he repeated several times, degrading by a strange, 
anxious whine die sonority of die Spanish language, which he 
pattered rapidly, like some sort of cringing jargon. A plain man 
could carry on his littie business now in the country, and even 
diink of enlarging it— widi safety. Was it not so? He seemed to beg 
Charles Gould for a confirmatory word, a grunt of assent, a simple 
nod even. 

He could get nodiing. His alarm increased, and in die pauses 
he would dart his eyes here and diere; dien, lodi to give up, he 
would branch off into feeling allusion to die dangers of his journey. 
The audacious Hernandez, leaving his usual haunts, had crossed 
die Campo of Sulaco, and was known to be lurking in die ravines 
of die coast range. Yesterday, when distant only a few hours from 
Sulaco, die hide merchant and his servants had seen diree men on 
die road arrested suspiciously, widi dieir horses' heads togedier. 
Two of diese rode off at once and disappeared in a shallow 
quebrada to die left. "We stopped," continued die man from 
Esmeralda, "and I tried to hide behind a small bush. But none of 
my mozos would go forward to find out what it meant, and die 
third horseman seemed to be waiting for us to come up. It was no 
use. We had been seen. So we rode slowly on, trembling. He let 
us pass— a man on a gray horse widi his hat down on his eyes— 
widiout a word of greeting; but by and by we heard him galloping 
after us. We faced about, but diat did not seem to intimidate him. 
He rode up at speed, and touching my foot widi die toe of his 
boot, asked me for a cigar, widi a blood curdling laugh. He did not 
seem armed, but when he put his hand back to reach for the 
matches I saw an enormous revolver strapped to his w r aist. I 
shuddered. He had very fierce wiiiskers, Don Carlos, and as he 
did not offer to go on we dared not move. At last, blowing die 
smoke of my cigar into die air dirough his nostrils, he said, 'Sefior, 
it w r ould be perhaps better for you if I rode behind your party. You 
are not very far from Sulaco now. Go you widi God.' What would 
you? We went on. There w r as no resisting him. He might have 
been Hernandez himself; diough my servant, who has been many 
times to Sulaco by sea, assured me diat he had recognized him 
very w r ell for die capataz of die steamship company's cargadores. 
Later on, diat same evening, I saw that very man at die comer of 
die Plaza talking to a girl, a morenita, who stood by die stirrup widi 
her hand on die gray horse's mane." 

"I assure you, Sefior Hirsch," murmured Charles Gould, "diat 



you ran no risk on this occasion." 

"That may be, sehor, though I tremble yet. A most fierce 
man— to look at. And what does it mean? A person employed by 
the steamship company talking with salteadores— no less, sehor; the 
odier horsemen were salteadores— in a lonely place, and behaving 
like a robber himself! A cigar is nothing, but what was there to 
prevent him asking me for my purse?" 

"No, no, Sehor Hirsch," Charles Gould murmured, letting his 
glance stray away a little vacantly from the round face with its 
hooked beak upturned towards him in an almost childlike appeal. 
"If it was the capataz of the cargadores you met— and there is no 
doubt, is there?— you were perfectly safe." 

"Thank you. You are very good. A very fierce looking man, 
Don Carlos. He asked me for a cigar in a most familiar manner. 
What would have happened if I had not had a cigar? I shudder 
yet. What business had he to be talking with robbers in a lonely 
place?" 

But Charles Gould, openly preoccupied now, gave not a sign, 
made no sound. The impenetrability of the embodied Gould 
Concession had its surface shades. To be dumb is merely a fatal 
affliction; but the King of Sulaco had words enough to give him all 
the mysterious weight of a taciturn force. His silences, backed by 
the power of speech, had as many shades of significance as uttered 
words in the way of assent, of doubt, of negation— even of simple 
comment. Some seemed to say plainly, "Think it over"; others 
meant clearly "Go ahead"; a simple, low, "I see," with an 
affirmative nod, at the end of a patient listening half hour was the 
equivalent of a verbal contract, which men had learned to trust 
implicitly, since behind it all there was the great San Tome mine, 
the head and front of tire material interests, so strong that it 
depended on no nran's goodwill in tire whole length and breadth 
of the Occidental Province— that is, on no goodwill which it could 
not buy ten times over. But to tire little hook nosed man fronr 
Esnreralda, anxious about tire export of hides, tire silence of 
Charles Gould portended a failure. Evidently this was no time for 
extending a nrodest nran's business. He enveloped in a swift 
mental malediction tire whole country, with all its inhabitants, 
partisans of Ribiera and Montero alike; and there were incipient 
tears in his mute anger at tire drought of tire innumerable ox hides 
going to waste upon tire dreamy expanse of tire Canrpo, with its 
single palms rising like ships at sea within tire perfect circle of the 
horizon, its clunrps of heavy timber motionless like solid islands of 
leaves above tire running waves of grass. There were hides there, 
rotting, with no profit to anybody— rotting where they had been 
dropped by men called away to attend tire urgent necessities of 
political revolutions. The practical mercantile soul of Sehor Hirsch 
rebelled against all that foolishness, while he was taking a 



respectful but disconcerted leave of die might and majesty of die 
San Tome mine in die person of Charles Gould. He could not 
restrain a heartbroken murmur, wrung out of his very aching heart, 
as it were. 

"It is a great, great foolishness, Don Carlos, all diis. The price 
of hides in Hamburg is gone up— up. Of course die Ribierist 
government will do away widi all that— when it gets established 
firmly. Meantime—" 

He sighed. 

"Yes, meantime," repeated Charles Gould, inscrutably. 

The other shrugged his shoulders. But he was not ready to go 
yet. There was a littie matter he would like to mention very much 
if permitted. It appeared he had some good friends in Hamburg 
(he murmured die name of die firm) who were very anxious to do 
business, in dynamite, he explained. A contract for dynamite widi 
die San Tome mine, and dien, perhaps, later on, odier mines, 
which were sure to— The littie man from Esmeralda was ready to 
enlarge, but Charles interrupted him. It seemed as though the 
patience of the Senor Administrador was giving way at last. 

"Senor Hirsch," he said, "I have enough dynamite stored up at 
die mountain to send it down crashing into die valley"— his voice 
rose a littie— "to send half Sulaco into die air if I liked." 

Charles Gould smiled at die round, starded eyes of die dealer 
in hides, who was murmuring hastily, "Just so. Just so." And now 
he was going. It was impossible to do business in explosives widi 
an administrador so well provided and so discouraging. He had 
suffered agonies in die saddle and had exposed himself to the 
atrocities of the bandit Hernandez for nodiing at all. Neither hides 
nor dynamite— and die very shoulders of die enterprising Israelite 
expressed dejection. At the door he bowed low to die engineer-in- 
chief. But at the bottom of die stairs in the patio he stopped short, 
widi his podgy hand over his lips, in an attitude of meditative 
astonishment. 

"What does he want to keep so much dynamite for?" he 
muttered. "And why does he talk like this to me?" 

The engineer-in-chief, looking in at die door of die empty sala, 
whence the political tide had ebbed out to die last insignificant 
drop, nodded familiarly to the master of the house, standing 
motionless like a tall beacon among die deserted shoals of 
furniture. 

"Good night; I am going. Got my bike downstairs. The railway 
will know where to go for dynamite should we get short at any 
time. We have done cutting and chopping for a while now. We 
shall begin soon to blast our way dirough." 

"Don't come to me," said Charles Gould widi perfect serenity. 
"I sha'n't have an ounce to spare for anybody. Not an ounce. Not 
for my own brodier, if I had a brodier, and he were die engineer- 



in-chief of the most promising railway in the world." 

"What's that?" asked the engineer-in-chief, with equanimity. 
"Unkindness?" 

"No," said Charles Gould, stolidly. "Policy." 

"Radical, I should diink," die engineer-in-chief ohserved from 
die doorway. 

"Is diat die right name?" Charles Gould said, from die middle 
of die room. 

"I mean, going to the roots, you know," die engineer 
explained, widi an air of enjoyment 

"Why, yes," Charles pronounced slowly. "The Gould 
Concession has struck such deep roots in diis country, in diis 
province, in diat gorge of die mountains, diat nothing but dynamite 
shall be allowed to dislodge it from diere. It's my choice. It's my 
last card to play." 

The engineer-in-chief whisded low. "A pretty game," he said, 
with a shade of discretion. "And have you told Holroyd of that 
extraordinary trump card you hold in your hand?" 

"Card only when it's played; when it falls at die end of the 
game. Till then you may call it a— a—" 

"Weapon," suggested die railway man. 

"No. You may call it radier an argument," corrected Charles 
Gould, gentiy. "And that's how I've presented it to Mr. Holroyd." 

"And what did he say to it?" asked die engineer, with 
undisguised interest. 

"He—" Charles Gould spoke after a slight pause— "he said 
somediing about holding on like grim deadi and putting our trust 
in God. I should imagine he must have been radier starded. But 
dien"— pursued die administrador of die San Tome mine— "but 
dien, he is very far away, you know, and, as diey say in this 
country, God is very high above." 

The engineer's appreciative laugh died away down the stairs, 
where die Madonna with die Child on her arm seemed to look 
after his shaking broad back from her shallow niche. 



VI 



A PROFOUND stillness reigned in die Casa Gould. The 
master of die house, walking along die corridor, opened die door 
of his room, and saw his wife sitting in a big armchair— his own 
smoking armchair— tlioughtful, contemplating her little shoes. And 
she did not raise her eyes when he walked in. 

"Tired?" asked Charles Gould. 

"A litde," said Mrs. Gould. Still widiout looking up, she added 
with feeling, "There is an awful sense of unreality about all diis." 

Charles Gould, before the long table strewn with papers, on 



which la)' a hunting crop and a pair of spurs, stood looking at his 
wife. "The heat and dust must have heen awful this afternoon by 
the waterside," he murmured sympathetically. "The glare on the 
water must have been simply terrible." 

"One could close one's eyes to the glare," said Mrs. Gould. 
"But, my dear Charley, it is impossible for me to close my eyes to 
our position, to this awful ..." 

She raised her eyes and looked at her husband's face, from 
which all sign of sympathy or any other feeling had disappeared. 
"Why don't you tell me something?" she almost wailed. 

"I thought you had understood me perfectly from the first," 
Charles Gould said, slowly. "I thought we had said all there was to 
say a long time ago. There is nothing to say now. There were 
tilings to be done. We have done them; we have gone on doing 
them. There is no going back now. I don't suppose that, even from 
the first, there was really any possible way back. And, what's more, 
we can't even afford to stand still." 

"All, if one only knew how far you mean to go," said his wife, 
inwardly trembling, but in an almost playful tone. 

"Any distance, any length, of course," was the answer, in a 
matter of fact tone, which caused Mrs. Gould to make another 
effort to repress a shudder. 

She stood up, smiling graciously, and her little figure seemed 
to be diminished still more by the heavy mass of her hair and the 
long train of her gown. 

"But always to success," she said, persuasively. 

Charles Gould, enveloping her in the steely blue glance of his 
attentive eyes, answered without hesitation: 

"Oh, there is no alternative." 

He put an immense assurance into his tone. As to the words, 
this was all that his conscience would allow him to say. 

Mrs. Gould's smile remained a shade too long upon her lips. 
She murmured: 

"I will leave you; I've a slight headache. The heat, the dust, 
were indeed— I suppose you are going back to the mine before the 
morning?" 

"At midnight," said Charles Gould. "We are bringing down the 
silver tomorrow. Then I shall take three whole days off in town 
with you." 

"All, you are going to meet the escort. I shall be on the balcony 
at five o'clock to see you pass. Till then, goodbye." 

Charles Gould walked rapidly round the table, and, seizing her 
hands, bent down, pressing them both to his lips. Before he 
straightened himself up again to his full height she had disengaged 
one to smooth his cheek with a light touch, as if he were a little 
boy. 

"Try to get some rest for a couple of hours," she murmured, 



with a glance at a hammock stretched in a distant part of die room. 
Her long train swished sofdy after her on die red tiles. At die door 
she looked back. 

Two big lamps widi unpolished glass globes badied in a soft 
and abundant light die four white walls of die room, widi a glass 
case of arms, die brass hilt of Henry Gould's cavalry sabre on its 
square of velvet, and die watercolor sketch of die San Tome gorge. 
And Mrs. Gould, gazing at die last in its black wooden frame, 
sighed out: 

"All, if we had left it alone, Charles!" 

"No," Charles Gould said, moodily, "it was impossible to leave 
it alone." 

"Perhaps it was impossible," Mrs. Gould admitted slowly. Her 
lips quivered a littie, but she smiled widi an air of dainty bravado. 
"We have disturbed a good many snakes in diat paradise, Charley, 
haven't we?" 

"Yes; I remember," said Charles Gould, "it was Don Pepe who 
called die gorge die paradise of snakes. No doubt we have 
disturbed a great many. But remember, my dear, diat it is not now 
as it was when you made diat sketch." He waved his hand towards 
the small watercolor hanging alone upon die great bare wall. "It is 
no longer a paradise of snakes. We have brought mankind into it, 
and we cannot turn our backs upon diem to go and begin a new 
life elsewhere." 

He confronted his wife widi a firm, concentrated gaze, which 
Mrs. Gould returned widi a brave assumption of fearlessness 
before she went out, closing die door gendy after her. 

In contrast widi die white glaring room the dimly lit corridor 
had a restiul mysteriousness of a forest shade, suggested by the 
stems and die leaves of the plants ranged along die balustrade of 
die open side. In die streaks of light falling dirough die open door 
of die reception rooms, die blossoms, white and red and pale lilac, 
came out vivid widi die brilliance of flowers in a stream of 
sunshine; and Mrs. Gould, passing on, had die vividness of a figure 
seen in the clear patches of sun diat checker die gloom of open 
glades in die woods. The stones in die rings upon her hand 
pressed to her forehead glittered in die lamplight abreast of die 
door of the sala. 

"Who's diere?" she asked, in a starded voice. "Is diat you, 
Basilio?" She looked in, and saw Martin Decoud walking about, 
widi an air of having lost somediing among die chairs and tables. 

"Antonia has forgotten her fan in here," said Decoud, widi a 
strange air of distraction; "so I entered to see." 

But, even as he said this, he had obviously given up his search, 
and walked straight towards Mrs. Gould, who looked at him widi 
doubtful surprise. 

"Senora," he began, in a low voice. 



"What is it, Don Martin?" asked Mrs. Gould. And then she 
added, with a slight laugh, "I am so nervous today," as if to explain 
die eagerness of die question 

"Nothing immediately dangerous," said Decoud, who now 
could not conceal his agitation. "Pray don't distress yourself. No, 
really, you must not distress yourself." 

Mrs. Gould, with her candid eyes very wide open, her lips 
composed into a smile, was steadying herself with a little bejeweled 
hand against die lintel of die door. 

"Perhaps you don't know how alarming you are, appearing like 
this, unexpectedly—" 

"I! Alarming!" he protested, sincerely vexed and surprised. "I 
assure you that I am not in the least alarmed myself. A fan is lost; 
well, it will he found again. But I don't think it is here. It is a fan I 
am looking for. I cannot understand how Antonia could— Well! 
have you found it, amigo?" 

"No, seiior," said, behind Mrs. Gould, die soft voice of Basilio, 
die head servant of die casa. "I don't think die seiiorita could have 
left it in this house at all." 

"Go and look for it in die patio again. Go now, my friend; look 
for it on die steps, under die gate: examine every flagstone; search 
for it till I come down again. . . . That fellow"— he addressed 
himself in English to Mrs. Gould— "is always stealing up behind 
one's back on his bare feet. I set him to look for that fan directly I 
came in, to justify my reappearance, my sudden return." 

He paused, and Mrs. Gould said, amiably, "You are always 
welcome." She paused for a second, too. "But I am waiting to 
learn die cause of your return." 

Decoud affected suddenly die utmost nonchalance. "I can't 
bear to be spied upon. Oh, die cause? Yes, there is a cause; there 
is somediing else diat is lost besides Antonia's favorite fan. As I 
was walking home after seeing Don Jose and Antonia to dieir 
house, die capataz de cargadores, riding down die street, spoke to 
me. 

"Has anything happened to die Violas?" inquired Mrs. Gould. 

"The Violas? You mean die old Garibaldino who keeps the 
hotel where die engineers live? Nodiing happened diere. The 
capataz said nodiing of diem; he only told me diat die telegraphist 
of die cable company was walking on die Plaza, bareheaded, 
looking out for me. There is news from die interior, Mrs. Gould. I 
should radier say rumors of news." 

"Good news?" said Mrs. Gould, in a low voice. 

" Worthless, I should think. But if I must define diem, I would 
say bad. They are to die effect diat a two days' battie had been 
fought near Sta. Marta, and diat the Ribierists are defeated. It must 
have happened a few days ago— perhaps a week. The rumor has 
just reached Cayta, and die man in charge of die cable station 



there has telegraphed the news to his colleague here. We might 
just as well have kept Barrios in Sulaco." 

"What's to he done now?" murmured Mrs. Gould. "Nothing. 
He's at sea with die troops. He will get to Cayta in a couple of 
days' time and learn the news there. What he will do then, who 
can say? Hold Cayta? Offer his suhmission to Montero? Disband 
his army— this last most likely, and go himself in one of the O.S.N. 
Company's steamers, north or south, to Valparaiso or to San 
Francisco, no matter where. Our Barrios has a great practice in 
exiles and repatriations, which mark the points in the political 
game." 

Decoud, exchanging a steady stare with Mrs. Gould, added, 
tentatively, as it were, "And yet, if we had Barrios with his two 
thousand improved rifles here, something could have been done." 

"Montero victorious, completely victorious!" Mrs. Gould 
breadied out in a tone of unbelief. 

"A canard, probably. That sort of bird is hatched in great 
numbers in such times as these And even if it were true? Well, let 
us put tilings at their w r orst, let us say it is true." 

"Then everything is lost," said Mrs. Gould, with the calmness 
of despair. 

Suddenly she seemed to divine, she seemed to see Decoud's 
tremendous excitement under its cloak of studied carelessness. It 
was, indeed, becoming visible in his audacious and watchful stare, 
in die curve, half reckless, half contemptuous, of his lips. And a 
French phrase came upon them as if, for this Costaguanero of die 
boulevard, that had been the only forcible language: 

"Non, inadame. Rien n 'est perdu" 

It electrified Mrs. Gould out of her benumbed attitude, and 
she said, vivaciously: 

"What would you diink of doing?" 

But already diere w r as somediing of mockery in Decoud's 
suppressed excitement. 

"What w r ould you expect a true Costaguanero to do? Anotiier 
revolution, of course. On my word of honor, Mrs. Gould, I 
believe I am a true hijo del pays, a true son of die country, 
wiiatever Father Corbelan may say. And I'm not so much of an 
unbeliever as not to have faith in my own ideas, in my own 
remedies, in my own desires." 

"Yes," said Mrs. Gould, doubtfully. 

"You don't seem convinced," Decoud went on again in 
French. "Say, dien, in my passions." 

Mrs. Gould received this addition unflinchingly. To 
understand it dioroughly she did not require to hear his muttered 
assurance. 

"There is nodiing I would not do for die sake of Antonia. 
There is nodiing I am not prepared to undertake. There is no risk 



I am not ready to run." 

Decoud seemed to find a fresh audacity in this voicing of his 
thought. "You would not helieve me if I were to say that it is die 
love of die country which—" 

She made a sort of discouraged protest widi her arm, as if to 
express diat she had given up expecting that motive from any one. 

"A Sulaco revolution," Decoud pursued in a forcihle 
undertone. "The Great Cause may he served here, on die very 
spot of its inception, in die place of its birth, Mrs. Gould." 

Frowning, and biting her lower lip thoughtfully, she made a 
step away from die door. 

"You are not going to speak to your husband?" Decoud 
arrested her anxiously. 

"But you will need his help?" 

"No doubt," Decoud admitted without hesitation "Everything 
turns upon die San Tome mine, but I would radier he didn't know 
anything as yet of my— my hopes." 

A puzzled look came upon Mrs. Gould's face, and Decoud, 
approaching, explained confidentially: "Don't you see, he's such 
an idealist." 

Mrs. Gould flushed pink, and her eyes grew darker at die same 
time. 

"Charley an idealist!" she said, as if to herself, wonderingly. 
"What on eardi do you mean?" 

"Yes," conceded Decoud; "it's a wonderful tiling to say with 
die sight of die San Tome mine, die greatest fact in die whole of 
Soudi America, perhaps, before our very eyes. But look even at 
diat: he has idealized this fact to a point—" He paused. Mrs. 
Gould, are you aware to what point he has idealized die existence, 
die wordi, die meaning of die San Tome mine? Are you aware of 
it?" 

He must have known what he was talking about. The effect he 
expected was produced. Mrs. Gould, ready to take fire, gave it up 
suddenly with a low littie sound diat resembled a moan. 

"What do you know?" she asked in a feeble voice 

"Notiiing," answered Decoud, firmly. "But, dien, don't you 
see, he's an Englishman?" 

"Well, what of diat?" asked Mrs. Gould. 

"Simply diat he cannot act or exist widiout idealizing every 
simple feeling, desire, or achievement. He could not believe his 
own motives if he did not make diem first a part of some fairytale. 
The eardi is not quite good enough for him, I fear. Do you excuse 
my frankness? Besides, whedier you excuse it or not, it is part of 
die trutii of tilings which hurts die— what do you call diem?— die 
Anglo-Saxon's susceptibilities, and at die present moment I don't 
feel as if I could treat seriously eidier his conception of tilings or— if 
you allow me to say so— or yet yours." 



Mrs. Gould gave no sign of being offended. "I suppose 
Antonia understands you thoroughly?" 

"Understands? Well, yes. But I am not sure that she approves. 
That, however, makes no difference. I am honest enough to tell 
you that, Mrs. Gould." 

"Your idea, of course, is separation," she said. 

"Separation, of course," declared Martin. "Yes; separation of 
the whole Occidental Province from the rest of the unquiet body. 
But my true idea, the only one I care for, is not to be separated 
from Antonia." 

"And that is all?" asked Mrs. Gould, without severity. 

"Absolutely. I am not deceiving myself about my motives. She 
won't leave Sulaco for my sake, therefore Sulaco must leave the 
rest of the republic to its fate. Nothing could be clearer than that. I 
like a clearly defined situation. I cannot part with Antonia, 
therefore the one and indivisible republic of Costaguana must be 
made to part with its western province. Fortunately it happens to 
be also a sound policy. The richest, the most fertile part of this 
land may be saved from anarchy. Personally, I care little, very little; 
but it's a fact that the establishment of Montero in power would 
mean death to me. In all the proclamations of general pardon 
which I have seen, my name, with a few others, is specially 
excepted. The brothers hate me, as you know very well, Mrs. 
Gould; and behold, here is the rumor of them having won a battle. 
You say that, supposing it is true, I have plenty of time to run 
away." 

The slight protesting murmur on the part of Mrs. Gould made 
him pause for a moment, while he looked at her with a sombre 
and resolute glance. 

"All, but I would, Mrs. Gould. I would run away if it served 
that which at present is my only desire. I am courageous enough to 
say that, and to do it too. But women, even our women, are 
idealists. It is Antonia that won't run away. A novel sort of vanity." 

"You call it vanity," said Mrs. Gould, in a shocked voice. 

"Say pride, then, which, Father Corbelan would tell you, is a 
mortal sin. But I am not proud. I am simply too much in love to 
run away. At the same time I want to live. There is no love for a 
dead man. Therefore it is necessary that Sulaco should not 
recognize the victorious Montero." 

"And you think my husband will give you his support?" 

"I think he can be drawn into it, like all idealists, when he once 
sees a sentimental basis for his action But I wouldn't talk to him. 
Mere clear facts won't appeal to his sentiment It is much better for 
him to convince himself in his own way. And, frankly, I could not, 
perhaps, just now pay sufficient respect to either his motives or 
even, perhaps, to yours, Mrs. Gould." 

It was evident that Mrs. Gould was very determined not to be 



offended. She smiled vaguely, while she seemed to think die 
matter over. As far as she could judge from die girl's half 
confidences, Antonia, understood diat young man. Obviously 
diere was a promise of safety in his plan, or radier in his idea. 
Moreover, right or wrong, die idea could do no harm. And it was 
quite possible, also, diat die rumor was false. 

"You have some sort of plan," she said. 

"Simplicity itself. Barrios has started, let him go on dien; he 
will hold Cayta, which is die door of the sea route to Sulaco. They 
cannot send a sufficient force over die mountains. No; not even to 
cope widi die hand of Hernandez. Meantime we shall organize our 
resistance here. And for diat, diis very Hernandez will he useful. 
He has defeated troops as a handit; he will no douht accomplish 
die same tiling if he were made a colonel or even a general. You 
know die country well enough not to he shocked hy what I say, 
Mrs. Gould. I have heard you assert diat diis poor handit was die 
living and hreadiing example of cruelty, injustice, stupidity, and 
oppression, diat ruin men's souls as well as dieir fortunes in this 
country. Well, there would he some poetical retrihution in that 
man arising to crush the evils which had driven an honest ranchero 
into a life of crime. A fine idea of retribution in that, isn't there?" 

Decoud had dropped easily into English, which he spoke with 
precision, very correctly, but with too many z sounds. 

"Think also of your hospitals, of your schools, of your ailing 
mothers and feeble old men, of all diat population which you and 
your husband have brought into die rocky gorge of San Tome. Are 
you not responsible to your conscience for all diese people? Is it 
not wordi while to make another effort, which is not at all so 
desperate as it looks, radier than— " 

Decoud finished his diought with an upward toss of die arm, 
suggesting annihilation; and Mrs. Gould turned away her head with 
a look of horror. 

"Why don't you say all this to my husband?" she asked, 
widiout looking at Decoud, who stood watching die effect of his 
words. 

"All! But Don Carlos is so English," he began. Mrs. Gould 
interrupted— 

"Leave diat alone, Don Martin. He's as much a 
Costaguanero— No! He's more of a Costaguanero dian yourself." 

"Sentimentalist, sentimentalist," Decoud almost cooed, in a 
tone of gentie and soodiing deference. "Sentimentalist, after the 
amazing manner of your people. I have been watching El Rey de 
Sulaco since I came here on a fool's errand, and perhaps impelled 
by some treason of fate lurking behind die unaccountable turns of 
a man's life. But I don't matter; I am not a sentimentalist, I cannot 
endow my personal desires with a shining robe of silk and jewels. 
Life is not for me a moral romance derived from die tradition of a 



pretty fairytale. No, Mrs. Gould; I am practical. I am not afraid of 
my motives. But, pardon me, I have been rather carried away. 
What I wish to say is that I have been observing. I won't say what I 
have discovered—" 

"No. That is unnecessary," whispered Mrs. Gould, once more 
averting her head. 

"It is. Except one little fact, that your husband does not like 
me. It's a small matter, which, in the circumstances, seems to 
acquire a perfectly ridiculous importance. Ridiculous and 
immense; for, clearly, money is required for my plan," he 
reflected; then added, meaningly, "and we have two sentimentalists 
to deal with." 

"I don't know that I understand you, Don Martin," said Mrs. 
Gould, coldly, preserving the low key of their conversation. "But, 
speaking as if I did, who is the other?" 

"The great Holroyd in San Francisco, of course," Decoud 
whispered, lightly. "I think you understand me very well. Women 
are idealists; but then they are so perspicacious." 

But whatever was the reason of that remark, disparaging and 
complimentary at the same time, Mrs. Gould seemed not to pay 
attention to it. The name of Holroyd had given a new tone to her 
anxiety. 

"The silver escort is coming down to the harbor tomorrow; a 
whole six months' working, Don Martin!" she cried in dismay. 

"Let it come down then," breathed out Decoud, earnestly, 
almost into her ear. 

"But if the rumor should get about, and especially if it turned 
out true, troubles might break out in the town," objected Mrs. 
Gould. 

Decoud admitted that it was possible. He knew well the town 
children of the Sulaco Campo: sullen, thievish, vindictive, and 
bloodthirsty, whatever great qualities their brothers of the plain 
might have had. But then there was that other sentimentalist, who 
attached a strangely idealistic meaning to concrete facts. This 
stream of silver must be kept flowing north, to return in the form 
of financial backing from the great home of Holroyd. Up at the 
mountain in the strong room of the mine the silver bars were 
worth less for his purpose than so much lead, from which at least 
bullets may be run. Let it come down to the harbor, ready for 
shipment. 

The next north going steamer would carry it off for the very 
salvation of the San Tome mine, which has produced so much 
treasure. And, moreover, the rumor was probably false, he 
remarked, with much conviction in his hurried tone. 

"Besides, senora," concluded Decoud, "we may suppress it for 
many days. I have been talking with the telegraphist in the middle 
of the Plaza Mayor; thus I am certain that we could not have been 



overheard. There was not even a bird in die air near us. And also 
let me tell you somediing more. I have been making friends widi 
this man called Nostromo, die capataz. We had a conversation this 
very evening, I walking by die side of his horse as he rode slowly 
out of die town just now. He promised me diat if a riot took place, 
for any reason— even for the most political of reasons— you 
understand, his cargadores, an important part of die populace, you 
will admit, should be found on die side of die Europeans." 

"He has promised you diat?" Mrs. Gould inquired, with 
interest. "What made him make diat promise to you?" 

"Upon my word, I don't know," declared Decoud, in a slightly 
surprised tone. "He certainly promised me diat, but, now you ask 
me why, I certainly could not tell you his reasons. He talked with 
his usual carelessness, which, if he had been anything else but a 
common sailor, I would call a pose or an affectation." 
Decoud, interrupting himself, looked at Mrs. Gould curiously. 

"Upon die whole," he continued, "I suppose he expects 
somediing to his advantage from it. You mustn't forget diat he 
does not exercise his extraordinary power over die lower classes 
widiout a certain amount of personal risk and widiout a great 
profusion in spending his money. One must pay in some way or 
other for such a solid tiling as individual prestige. He told me after 
we made friends at a dance, in a posada kept by a Mexican just 
outside the walls, that he had come here to make his fortune. I 
suppose he looks upon his prestige as a sort of investment." 

"Perhaps he prizes it for its own sake," Mrs. Gould said, in a 
tone as if she were repelling an undeserved aspersion. "Viola, die 
Garibaldino, with whom he has lived for some years, calls him die 
incorruptible." 

"All! he belongs to die group of your proteges out diere 
towards die harbor, Mrs. Gould. Muy bien. And Captain Mitchell 
calls him wonderful. I have heard no end of tales of his strength, 
his audacity, his fidelity. No end of fine tilings. H'm! 
incorruptible? It is indeed a name of honor for die capataz of die 
cargadores of Sulaco. Incorruptible! Fine, but vague. However, I 
suppose he's sensible, too. And I talked to him upon that sane and 
practical assumption." 

"I prefer to think him disinterested, and tiierefore 
trustworthy," Mrs. Gould said, with die nearest approach to 
curtness it was in her nature to assume. 

"Well, if so, dien die silver will be still more safe. Let it come 
down, senora. Let it come down, so diat it may go nordi and 
return to us in die shape of credit." 

Mrs. Gould glanced along die corredor tow r ards die door of 
her husband's room. Decoud, watching her as if she had his fate in 
her hands, detected an almost imperceptible nod of assent. He 
bowed with a smile, and, putting his hand into die breast pocket of 



his coat, pulled out a fan of light feathers set upon painted leaves 
of sandalwood. "I had it in my pocket," he murmured 
triumphantly, "for a plausible pretext." He bowed again. 
"Goodnight, senora" 

Mrs. Gould continued along die corredor away from her 
husband's room. The fate of die San Tome mine was lying heavy 
upon her heart. It was a long time now since she had begun to fear 
it. It had been an idea. She had watched it widi misgivings turning 
into a fetish, and now die fetish had grown into a monstrous and 
crushing weight. It was as if die inspiration of dieir early years had 
left her heart to turn into a wall of silver bricks, erected by die 
silent work of evil spirits, between her and her husband. He 
seemed to dwell alone within a circumvallation of precious metal, 
leaving her outside widi her school, her hospital, die sick mothers 
and die feeble old men, mere insignificant vestiges of die initial 
inspiration. "Those poor people!" she murmured to herself. 

Below she heard die voice of Martin Decoud in the patio 
speaking loudly. 

"I have found Dona Antonia's fan, Basilio. Look, here it is!" 



VII 



IT was part of what Decoud would have called his sane 
materialism diat he did not believe in die possibility of friendship 
existing between man and woman. 

The one exception he allowed confirmed, he maintained, that 
absolute rule. Friendship was possible between brodier and sister, 
meaning by friendship the frank unreserve, as before anodier 
human being, of dioughts and sensations; an objectless and 
necessary sincerity of one's innermost life trying to react upon die 
profound sympadiies of anodier existence. 

His favorite sister, die handsome, slighdy arbitrary, and 
resolute angel, ruling die fadier and modier Decoud in the first 
floor apartments of a very fine Parisian house, was die recipient of 
Martin Decoud's confidences as to his dioughts, actions, purposes, 
doubts, and even failures. . . . 

"Prepare our little circle in Paris for die birdi of anodier Soudi 
American republic. One more or less, what does it matter? They 
may come into the world like evil flowers on a hotbed of rotten 
institutions: but the seed of this one has germinated in your 
brodier's brain, and diat will be enough for your devoted assent. I 
am writing diis to you by die light of a single candle, in a sort of 
inn, near die harbor, kept by an Italian called Viola, a protege of 
Mrs. Gould. The whole building, which, for all I know, may have 
been contrived by a conquistador farmer of die pearl fishery diree 



hundred years ago, is perfecdy silent. So is die plain between die 
town and die harbor; silent, but not so dark as die house, because 
the pickets of Italian workmen guarding die railway have lighted 
litde fires all along die line. It was not so quiet around here 
yesterday. We had an awful riot— a sudden outbreak of die 
populace, which was not suppressed till late today. Its object, no 
doubt, was loot, and diat was defeated, as you must have learned 
already from die cablegram sent via San Francisco and New York 
last night, when die cables were still open. You have read already 
diere diat die energetic action of die Europeans of die railway has 
saved die town from destruction, and you may believe diat. I wrote 
out the cable myself. We have no Reuter's Agency man here. I 
have also fired at die mob from die windows of die club, in 
company widi some odier young men of position. Our object was 
to keep the Calle da la Constitution clear for die exodus of die 
ladies and children, who have taken refuge on board a couple of 
cargo ships now in die harbor here. That was yesterday. You 
should also have learned from die cable diat die missing President, 
Ribiera, who had disappeared after die battie of Sta. Marta, has 
turned up here in Sulaco by one of those strange coincidences diat 
are almost incredible, riding on a lame mule into die very midst of 
die street fighting. It appears diat he had fled, in company of a 
muleteer called Bonifacio, across die mountains, from die direats 
of Montero, into the arms of an enraged mob. 

"The capataz of cargadores, diat Italian sailor of whom I have 
written to you before, has saved him from an ignoble deadi. That 
man seems to have a particular talent for being on die spot 
whenever there is somediing picturesque to be done. 

"He was with me at four o'clock in die morning at die offices 
of die Porvenir, where he had turned up so early in order to warn 
me of die coming trouble, and also to assure me diat he would 
keep his cargadores on die side of order. When die full daylight 
came we were looking togedier at die crowd on foot and on 
horseback, demonstrating on die Plaza and shying stones at the 
windows of die Intendencia. Nostromo (diat is die name diey call 
him by here) was pointing out to me his cargadores interspersed in 
die mob. 

"The sun shines late upon Sulaco, for it has first to climb 
above die mountains. In that clear morning light, brighter dian 
twilight, Nostromo saw right across die vast Plaza, at the end of die 
street beyond die cadiedral, a mounted man apparendy in 
difficulties with a yelling knot of leperos. At once he said to me, 
'That's a stranger. What is it diey are doing to him?' Then he took 
out die silver whistie he is in die habit of using on die wharf (this 
man seems to disdain die use of any metal less precious dian 
silver) and blew into it twice, evidendy a preconcerted signal for his 
cargadores. He ran out immediately, and diey rallied round him. I 



ran out, too, but was too late to follow them and help in the rescue 
of the stranger whose animal had fallen. I was set upon at once as a 
hated aristocrat, and was only too glad to get into the club, where 
Don Jaime Berges (you may remember him visiting at our house 
in Paris some three years ago) thrust a sporting gun into my hands. 
They were already firing from tire windows. There were little 
heaps of cartridges lying about on the open card tables. I 
remember a couple of overturned chairs, some bottles rolling on 
the floor among the packs of cards scattered suddenly as the 
caballeros rose from their game to open fire upon the mob. Most 
of the young men had spent the night at the club in the expectation 
of some such disturbance. In two of tire candelabra, on the 
consoles, tire candles were burning down in their sockets. A large 
iron nut, probably stolen from the railway workshops, flew in from 
the street as I entered, and broke one of tire large mirrors set in 
the wall. I noticed also one of the club servants tied up hand and 
foot with tire cords of the curtain and flung in a corner. I have a 
vague recollection of Don Jaime assuring me hastily that the fellow 
had been detected putting poison into the dishes at supper. But I 
remember distinctly he was shrieking for mercy, without stopping 
at all, continuously, and so absolutely disregarded that nobody 
even took the trouble to gag him. The noise he made was so 
disagreeable that I had half a mind to do it myself. But there was 
no time to waste on such trifles. I took my place at one of the 
windows and began firing. 

"I didn't learn till later in the afternoon whom it was that 
Nostromo, with his cargadores and some Italian workmen as well, 
had managed to save from those drunken rascals. That man has a 
peculiar talent when anything striking to the imagination has to be 
done. I made that remark to him afterwards when we met after 
some sort of order had been restored in the town, and the answer 
he made rather surprised me. He said, quite moodily, 'And how 
much do I get for that, sefior?' Then it dawned upon me that 
perhaps this man's vanity has been satiated by the adulation of the 
common people and the confidence of his superiors!" 

Decoud paused to light a cigarette, then, with his head still over 
his writing, he blew a cloud of smoke, which seemed to rebound 
from the paper. He took up the pencil again. 

"That was yesterday evening on the Plaza, while he sat on the 
steps of the cathedral, his hands between his knees, holding the 
bridle of his famous silver-gray mare. He had led his body of 
cargadores splendidly all day long. He looked fatigued. I don't 
know how I looked. Very dirty, I suppose. But I suppose I also 
looked pleased. From the time the fugitive President had been got 
off to the S.S. Minerva, the tide of success had turned against the 
mob. They had been driven off the harbor, and out of the better 
streets of the town, into their own maze of ruins and tolderias. You 



must understand diat diis riot, whose primary object was 
undoubtedly die getting hold of die San Tome silver stored in die 
lower rooms of die customhouse (besides the general looting of 
die Ricos), had acquired a political coloring from die fact of two 
Deputies to die Provincial Assembly, Senores Gamacho and 
Fuentes, bodi from Bolson, putting diemselves at die head of it- 
late in the afternoon, it is true, when die mob, disappointed in 
dieir hopes of loot, made a stand in die narrow streets to die cries 
of 'Viva la Libertad! Down with Feudalism!' (I wonder what diey 
imagine Feudalism to be.) 'Down with die Godis and Paralytics.' I 
suppose die Senores Gamacho and Fuentes knew what diey were 
doing. They are prudent gendemen. In the Assembly diey called 
diemselves Moderates, and opposed every energetic measure with 
philandiropic pensiveness. At die first rumors of Montero's victory 
diey began to show a subtie change of die pensive temper, and 
began to defy poor Don Juste Lopez in his presidential tribune 
with an effrontery to which die poor man could only respond by a 
dazed smoodiing of his beard and die ringing of die presidential 
bell. Then, when die downfall of die Ribierist cause became 
confirmed beyond die shadow of a doubt, diey blossomed into 
convinced Liberals, acting togedier as if they were Siamese twins, 
and ultimately taking charge, as it were, of die riot, in die name of 
Monterist principles. 

"Their last move at eight o'clock last night was to organize 
diemselves into a Monterist committee, which sits, as far as I 
know, in a posada kept by a retired Mexican bullfighter, a great 
politician, too, whose name I have forgotten. Thence diey have 
issued a communication to us, die Godis and Paralytics of die 
Amarilla Club (who have our own committee), inviting us to come 
to some provisional understanding for a truce, in order, diey have 
the impudence to say, that the noble cause of Liberty 'should not 
be stained by die criminal excesses of Conservative selfishness!' As 
I came out to sit with Nostromo on die cadiedral steps, die club 
was busy considering a proper reply in die principal room, littered 
with exploded cartridges, with a lot of broken glass, blood smears, 
candlesticks, and all sorts of wreckage on die floor. But all this is 
nonsense. Nobody in the town has any real power except die 
railway engineers, whose men occupy die dismanded houses 
acquired by die company for dieir town station on one side of die 
Plaza, and Nostromo, whose cargadores were sleeping under die 
Arcades, along die front of Anzani's shops. A fire of broken 
furniture out of the Intendencia saloons, mosdy gilt, was burning 
on the Plaza, in a high flame swaying right upon die statue of 
Charles IV. The dead body of a man was lying on die steps of die 
pedestal, his arms dirown wide open and his sombrero covering 
his face— die attention of some friend, perhaps. The light of die 
flames touched die foliage of die first trees on die Alameda, and 



played on the end of a side street near by, blocked up by a jumble 
of oxcarts and dead bullocks. Sitting on one of the carcasses, a 
lepero, muffled up, smoked a cigarette. It was a truce, you 
understand. The only other living being on the Plaza besides 
ourselves was a cargador, walking to and fro, with a long, bare 
knife in his hand, like a sentry before die Arcades, where his 
friends were sleeping. And the only other spot of light in the dark 
town were the lighted windows of the club, at die comer of die 
calle." 

After having written so far, Don Martin Decoud, die exotic 
dandy of die Parisian boulevard, got up and walked across the 
sanded floor of die cafe at one end of die albergo of United Italy, 
kept by Giorgio Viola, die old companion of Garibaldi. The highly 
colored lidiograph of die Faithful Hero seemed to look dimly, in 
die light of one candle, at die man widi no faidi in anything except 
die trudi of his own sensations. Looking out of die window, 
Decoud was met by a darkness so impenetrable diat he could see 
neidier die mountains nor die town, nor yet die buildings near die 
harbor; and diere was not a sound, as if the tremendous obscurity 
of die Placid Gulf, spreading from die waters over die land, had 
made it dumb as well as blind. Presendy Decoud felt a light tremor 
of the floor and distant clank of iron. A bright white light 
appeared, deep in die darkness, growing bigger with a diundering 
noise. The rolling stock usually kept on the sidings in Rincon was 
being run back to die yards for safekeeping. Like a mysterious 
stirring of die darkness behind die headlight of die engine, die 
train passed in a gust of hollow uproar by die end of die house, 
which seemed to vibrate all over in response. And nodiing was 
clearly visible but, on die end of die last flatcar, a negro, in white 
trousers and naked to die waist, swinging a blazing torch basket 
incessandy with a circular movement of his bare arm. Decoud did 
not stir. 

Behind him, on the back of die chair from which he had risen, 
hung his elegant Parisian overcoat, widi a pearl gray silk lining. But 
when he turned back to come to die table die candlelight fell upon 
a face that was grimy and scratched. His rosy lips were blackened 
widi heat, die smoke of gunpowder. Dirt and rust tarnished the 
lustre of his short beard. His shirt collar and cuffs were crumpled, 
die blue silken tie hung down his breast like a rag; a greasy smudge 
crossed his white brow. He had not taken off his clodiing nor used 
water, except to snatch a hasty drink greedily, for some forty hours. 
An awful resdessness had made him its own, had marked him widi 
all die signs of desperate strife, and put a dry, sleepless stare into 
his eyes. He murmured to himself in a hoarse voice, "I wonder if 
diere's any bread here," looked vaguely about him, dien dropped 
into the chair and took die pencil up again. He became aware he 
had not eaten anything for many hours. 



It occurred to him that no one could understand him so well 
as his sister. In the most skeptical heart there lurks at such 
moments, when the chances of existence are involved, a desire to 
leave a correct impression of the feelings, like a light hy which the 
action may he seen when personality is gone, gone where no light 
of investigation can ever reach the truth which every death takes 
out of the world. Therefore, instead of looking for something to 
eat or trying to snatch an hour or so of sleep, Decoud was filling 
die pages of a large note hook with a letter to his sister. 

In the intimacy of that intercourse he could not keep out his 
weariness, his great fatigue, the close touch of his hodily sensations. 
He hegan again as if he were talking to her. With almost an 
illusion of her presence he wrote the phrase, "I am very hungry." 

"I have die feeling of a great solitude around me," he 
continued. "Is it, perhaps, hecause I am die only man with a 
definite idea in his head, in die complete collapse of every resolve, 
intention, and hope ahout me? But tire solitude is also very real. 
All die engineers are out, and have heen for two days, looking after 
die property of the National Central Railway, of that great 
Costaguana undertaking which is to put money into die pockets of 
Englishmen, Frenchmen, Americans, Germans, and God knows 
who else. The silence ahout me is ominous. There is ahove the 
middle part of this house a sort of first floor, widr narrow openings 
like loopholes for windows, prohahly used in old times for the 
hetter defence against tire savages, when tire persistent harharism 
of our native continent did not wear the hlack coats of politicians, 
but went about yelling, half naked, with bows and arrows in its 
hands. The woman of tire house is dying up drere, I believe, all 
alone with her old husband. There is a narrow staircase, the sort of 
staircase one man could easily defend against a mob, leading up 
diere, and I have just heard, dirough die diickness of die wall, the 
old fellow going down into dieir kitchen for somediing or odier. It 
was a sort of noise a mouse might make behind die plaster of a 
wall. All the servants diey had ran away yesterday and have not 
returned yet, if ever they do. For die rest, diere are only two 
children here, two girls. The father has sent diem downstairs, and 
diey have crept into this cafe, perhaps because I am here. They 
huddle togedier in a corner, in each odier's arms. I just noticed 
diem a few minutes ago, and I feel more lonely dian ever." 

Decoud turned half round in his chair, and asked, "Is diere 
any bread here?" 

Linda's dark head was shaken negatively in response, above 
die fair head of her sister nesding on her breast. 

"You couldn't get me some bread?" insisted Decoud. The 
child did not move; he saw her large eyes stare at him very dark 
from die corner. "You're not afraid of me?" he said. 

"No," said Linda, "we are not afraid of you. You came here 



with Gian' Battista." 

"You mean Nostromo?" said Decoud. 

"The English call him so, hut that is no name eitiier for man or 
beast," said die girl, passing her hand gendy over her sister's hair. 

"But he lets people call him so," remarked Decoud. 

"Not in diis house," retorted die child. 

"All! well, I shall call him die capataz dien." 

Decoud gave up die point, and after writing steadily for a while 
turned round again. 

"When do you expect him back?" he asked. 

"After he brought you here he rode off to fetch die Seiior 
Doctor from die town for modier. He will be back soon." 

"He stands a good chance of getting shot somewhere on die 
road," Decoud murmured to him self audibly; and Linda declared 
in her high pitched voice: "Nobody would dare to fire a shot at 
Gian' Battista." 

"You believe diat," asked Decoud, "do you?" 

"I know it," said die child, with conviction. "There is no one in 
diis place brave enough to attack Gian' Battista." 

"It doesn't require much bravery to pull a trigger behind a 
bush," muttered Decoud to himself. "Fortunately, die night is 
dark, or diere would be but little chance of saving die silver of die 
mine." 

He turned again to his notebook, glanced back dirough the 
pages, and again started his pencil. 

"That was the position yesterday, after die Minerva with die 
fugitive President had gone out of harbor, and die rioters had been 
driven back into die side lanes of die town. I sat on die steps of die 
cadiedral with Nostromo, after sending out die cable message for 
die information of a more or less attentive world. Strangely 
enough, diough die offices of die cable company are in die same 
building as die Porvenir, die mob, which has dirown my presses 
out of die window and scattered the type all over die Plaza, has 
been kept from interfering with die instruments on the odier side 
of die courtyard. As I sat talking with Nostromo, Bernhardt, die 
telegraphist, came out from under die Arcades with a piece of 
paper in his hand. The littie man had tied himself up to an 
enormous sword and was hung all over with revolvers. He is 
ridiculous, but die bravest German of his size diat ever tapped die 
key of a Morse transmitter. He had received die message from 
Cayta reporting die transports with Barrios's army just entering die 
port, and ending with die words, 'The greatest endiusiasm 
prevails.' I walked off to drink some water at die fountain, and I 
was shot at from die Alameda by somebody hiding behind a tree. 
But I drank, and didn't care; with Barrios in Cayta, and die great 
Cordillera between us and Montero's victorious army, I seemed, 
notwithstanding Messrs. Gamacho and Fuentes, to hold my new 



state in the hollow of my hand. I was ready to sleep, hut when I got 
as far as the Casa Gould I found the patio full of wounded laid out 
on straw. Lights were hurning, and on that enclosed courtyard in 
diat hot night a faint odor of chloroform and blood hung about. At 
one end Dr. Monygham, die doctor of die mine, was dressing die 
wounds; at die odier, near die stairs, Father Corbelan, kneeling, 
listened to die confession of a dying cargador. Mrs. Gould was 
walking about dirough diese shambles widi a large botde in one 
hand and a lot of cotton wool in die odier. She just looked at me 
and never even winked. Her camerista was following her, also 
holding a botde, and sobbing gendy to herself. 

"I busied myself for some time in fetching water from the 
cistern for die wounded. Afterwards I wandered upstairs, meeting 
some of die first ladies of Sulaco, paler dian I had ever seen diem 
before, widi bandages over their arms. Not all of diem had fled to 
die ships. A good many had taken refuge for the day in die Casa 
Gould. On die landing a girl, widi her hair half down was kneeling 
against die wall under die niche where stands a Madonna in blue 
robes and a gilt crown on her head. I diink it was the eldest Miss 
Lopez. I couldn't see her face, but I remember looking at die high 
French heel of her littie shoe. She did not make a sound, she did 
not stir, she was not sobbing; she remained diere, perfecdy still, all 
black against die white wall, a silent figure of passionate piety. I am 
sure she was no more frightened dian the other white -faced ladies 
I met carrying bandages. One was sitting on die top step tearing a 
piece of linen hastily into strips— die young wife of an elderly man 
of fortune here. She interrupted herself to wave her hand to my 
bow as diough she were in her carriage on die Alameda. The 
women of our country are worth looking at during a revolution. 
The rouge and pearl powder fall off, togedier widi that passive 
attitude towards die outer world which education, tradition, 
custom seem to impose upon diem from die earliest infancy. I 
diought of your face, which from your infancy had die stamp of 
intelligence instead of diat patient and resigned cast which appears 
when some political commotion tears down die veil of cosmetics 
and usage. 

"In die great sala upstairs a sort of Junta of Notables was sitting, 
die remnant of die vanished Provincial Assembly. Don Juste 
Lopez had had half his beard singed off at the muzzle of a trabuco 
loaded widi slugs, of which every one missed him, providentially. 
And as he turned his head from side to side it was exacdy as if 
diere had been two men inside his frock coat, one nobly 
wiiiskered and solemn, die odier untidy and scared. 

"They raised a cry of 'Decoud! Don Martin!' at my entrance. I 
asked diem, 'What are you deliberating upon, gentlemen?' There 
did not seem to be any president, diough Don Jose Avellanos sat 
at die head of die table. They all answered togedier, 'On the 



preservation of life and property.' 'Till the new officials arrive,' 
Don Juste explained to me with the solemn side of his face offered 
to my view. It was as if a stream of water had been poured upon 
my glowing idea of a new state. There was a hissing sound in my 
ears, and the room grew dim, as if suddenly filled with vapor. 

"I walked up to the table blindly, as though I had been drunk. 
'You are deliberating upon surrender,' I said. They all sat still, with 
their noses over the sheet of paper each had before him, God only 
knows why. Only Don Jose hid his face in his hands, muttering, 
'Never, never!' But as I looked at him, it seemed to me that I 
could have blown him away with my breath, he looked so frail, so 
weak, so worn out. Whatever happens, he will not survive. The 
deception is too great for a man of his age; and hasn't he seen the 
sheets of Fifty Years of Misrule, which we have begun printing on 
the presses of the Por-venh; littering the Plaza, floating in the 
gutters, fired out as wads for trabucos loaded with handfuls of type, 
blown in the wind, trampled in the mud? I have seen pages 
floating upon the very waters of the harbor. It would be 
unreasonable to expect him to survive. It would be cruel. 

'"Do you know,' I cried, 'what surrender means to you, to your 
women, to your children, to your property?' 

"I declaimed for five minutes without drawing breath, it seems 
to me, harping on our best chances, on die ferocity of Montero, 
whom I made out to be as great a beast as I have no doubt he 
would like to be if he had intelligence enough to conceive a 
systematic reign of terror. And then for another five minutes or 
more I poured out an impassioned appeal to their courage and 
manliness, with all the passion of my love for Antonia. For if ever 
man spoke well, it would be from a personal feeling, denouncing 
an enemy, defending himself, or pleading for what really may be 
dearer than life. My dear girl, I absolutely thundered at them. It 
seemed as if my voice would burst the walls asunder, and when I 
stopped I saw all their scared eyes looking at me dubiously. And 
that was all die effect I had produced! Only Don Jose's head had 
sunk lower and lower on his breast. I bent my ear to his widiered 
lips, and made out his whisper, somediing like 'In God's name, 
then, Martin, my son!' I don't know exacdy. There was die name 
of God in it, I am certain. It seems to me I have caught his last 
breadi— die breadi of his departing soul on his lips. 

"He lives yet, it is true. I have seen him since; but it was only a 
senile body, lying on its back, covered to die chin, with open eyes, 
and so still diat you might have said it was breadiing no longer. I 
left him dius, with Antonia kneeling by die side of die bed, just 
before I came to this Italian's posada, where die ubiquitous deadi 
is also waiting. But I know diat Don Jose has really died diere, in 
the Casa Gould, with diat whisper urging me to attempt what no 
doubt his soul, wrapped up in die sanctity of diplomatic treaties 



and solemn declarations, must have abhorred. I had exclaimed 
very loud, 'There is never any God in a country where men will 
not help themselves.' 

"Meanwhile Don Juste had begun a pondered oration, whose 
solemn effect was spoiled by the ridiculous disaster to his beard. I 
did not wait to make it out. He seemed to argue that Montero's 
(he called him the General) intentions were probably not evil, 
though, he went on, 'that distinguished man' (only a week ago he 
used to call him a gran ' bestia) 'was perhaps mistaken as to the true 
means.' As you may imagine, I did not stay to hear the rest. I know 
the intentions of Montero's brother, Pedrito, the guerrillero, 
whom I exposed in Paris, some years ago, in a cafe frequented by 
South American students, where he tried to pass himself off for a 
Secretary of Legation. He used to come in and talk for hours, 
twisting his felt hat in his hairy paws, and his ambition seemed to 
become a sort of Due de Morny to a sort of Napoleon. Already, 
then, he used to talk of his brother in inflated terms. He seemed 
fairly safe from being found out, because the students, all of the 
Blanco families, did not, as you may imagine, frequent the 
Legation. It was only Decoud, a man without faith and principles, 
as they used to say, that went in there sometimes for the sake of 
the fun, as it were to an assembly of trained monkeys. I know his 
intentions. I have seen him change the plates at table. Whoever is 
allowed to live on in terror, I must die the death. 

"No, I didn't stay to the end to hear Don Juste Lopez trying to 
persuade himself in a grave oration of the clemency, and justice, 
and honesty, and purity of the brothers Montero. I went out 
abruptly to seek Antonia. I saw her in tire gallery. As I opened the 
door, she extended to nre her clasped hands. 

'"What are they doing in there?' she asked. 

"'Talking,' I said, with my eyes looking into hers. 

"'Yes, yes, but-' 

"'Lmpty speeches,' I interrupted her. 'Hiding their fears 
behind imbecile hopes. They are all great parliamentarians there- 
on tire English nrodel, as you know.' I was so furious that I could 
hardly speak She nrade a gesture of despair. 

"Through the door I held a little ajar behind nre we heard Don 
Juste's nreasured mouthing monotone go on fronr phrase to 
phrase, like a sort of awful and solemn nradness. 

'"After all, the democratic aspirations have, perhaps, their 
legitimacy. The ways of human progress are inscrutable, and if the 
fate of tire country is in tire hand of Montero, we ought—' 

"I crashed the door to on that; it was enough; it was too much. 
There was never a beautiful face expressing nrore horror and 
despair than tire face of Antonia. I couldn't bear it; I seized her 
wrists. 

'"Have they killed my father in there?' she asked. 



"Her eyes blazed with indignation, but as I looked on, 
fascinated, the light in them went out. 

'"It is a surrender,' I said. And I remember I was shaking her 
wrists I held apart in my hand. 'But it's more than a talk. Your 
father told me to go on in God's name.' 

"My dear girl, there is that in Antonia which would make me 
believe in the feasibility of anything. One look at her face is 
enough to set my brain on fire. And yet I love her as any other 
man would— with the heart, and with that alone. She is more to me 
than his church to Father Corbelan (the Grand Vicar disappeared 
last night from the town; perhaps gone to join the band of 
Hernandez). She is more to me than his precious mine to that 
sentimental Englishman. I won't speak of his wife. She may have 
been sentimental once. The San Tome mine stands now between 
those two people. 'Your father himself, Antonia,' I repeated; 'your 
father, do you understand? has told me to go on.' 

"She averted her face, and in a pained voice: 

"'He has?' she cried. 'Then, indeed, I fear he will never speak 
again.' 

"She freed her wrists from my clutch and began to cry in her 
handkerchief, I disregarded her sorrow I would rather see her 
miserable than not see her at all, never any more; for whether I 
escaped or stayed to die, there was for us no coming together, no 
future. And that being so, I had no pity to waste upon the passing 
moments of her sorrow' I sent her off all in tears to fetch Dona 
Emilia and Don Carlos, too. Their sentiment was necessary to the 
very life of my plan; the sentimentalism of the people that will 
never do anything for the sake of their passionate desire, unless it 
comes to them clothed in the fair robes of an idea. 

"Late at night we formed a small junta of four— the two women, 
Don Carlos, and myself— in Mrs. Gould's blue and white boudoir. 

"El Rey de Sulaco thinks himself, no doubt, a very honest 
man. And so he is, if one could look behind his taciturnity. 
Perhaps he thinks that this alone makes his honesty unstained. 
Those Englishmen live on illusions which somehow or other help 
them to get a firm hold of substance. When he speaks it is by a 
rare 'yes' or 'no' that seems as impersonal as the words of an 
oracle. But he could not impose on me by his dumb reserve. I 
knew what he had in his head; he has his mine in his head; and his 
wife had nothing in her head but his precious person, which he has 
bound up with the Gould Concession and tied up to that little 
woman's neck. No matter. The tiling was to make him present the 
affair to Holroyd (the Steel and Silver King) in such a manner as to 
secure his financial support. At that time last night, just twenty-four 
hours ago, we thought the silver of the mine safe in the custom 
house vaults till the northbound steamer came to take it away. And 
as long as the treasure flowed north, without a break, that utter 



sentimentalist, Holroyd, would not drop his idea of introducing, 
not only justice, industry, peace, to the benighted continents, but 
also that pet dream of his of a purer form of Christianity. Later on, 
the principal European really in Sulaco, the engineer-in-chief of 
the railway, came riding up the calle from the harbor, and was 
admitted to our conclave. Meantime, the Junta of the Notables in 
the great sala was still deliberating; only, one of them had run out 
in the corridor to ask the servant whether something to eat 
couldn't be sent in. The first words the engineer-in-chief said as he 
came into the boudoir were, 'What is your house, dear Mrs. 
Gould? A war hospital below, and apparently a restaurant above. I 
see them carrying trays full of good tilings into the sala.' 

"'And here, in this boudoir,' I said, 'you behold the inner 
cabinet of the Occidental Republic that is to be.' 

"He was so preoccupied that he didn't smile at that; he didn't 
even look surprised. 

"He told us that he was attending to the general dispositions 
for the defence of the railway property at the railway yards when 
he was sent for to go into the railway telegraph office. The 
engineer at the railhead, at the foot of the mountains, wanted to 
talk to him from his end of the wire. There was nobody in the 
office but himself and the operator of the railway telegraph, who 
read off the clicks aloud as the tape coiled its length upon the 
floor. And the purport of that talk, clicked nervously from a 
wooden shed in the depths of the forests, had informed the chief 
that President Ribiera had been or was being pursued. This was 
news, indeed, to all of us in Sulaco. Ribiera himself, when rescued, 
revived, and soothed by us, had been inclined to think that he had 
not been pursued "Ribiera had yielded to the urgent solicitations 
of his friends, and had left the headquarters of his discomfited 
army alone, under the guidance of Bonifacio, the muleteer, who 
had been willing to take the responsibility with the risk. He had 
departed at daybreak of the third day. His remaining forces had 
melted away during the night. Bonifacio and he rode hard on 
horses towards the Cordillera; then they obtained mules, entered 
the passes, and crossed the paramo of Ivie just before a freezing 
blast swept over that stony plateau, burying in a drift of snow the 
little shelter hut of stones in which they had spent the night. 
Afterwards poor Ribiera had many adventures, got separated from 
his guide, lost his mount, struggled down to the Campo on foot, 
and if he had not thrown himself on the mercy of a ranchero 
would have perished a long way from Sulaco. That man who as a 
matter of fact, recognized him at once, let him have a fresh mule, 
which the fugitive, heavy and unskillful, had ridden to death. And 
it was true he had been pursued by a party commanded by no less 
a person than Pedro Montero, the brother of the general. The 
cold wind of the paramo luckily caught the pursuers on the top of 



the pass. Some few men, and all the animals, perished in die icy 
blast. The stragglers died, but die main body kept on. They found 
poor Bonifacio lying half dead at die foot of a snow slope, and 
bayoneted him prompuy in die true civil war style. They would 
have had Ribiera too if diey had not, for some reason or other, 
turned off die track of the old Camino Real, only to lose dieir way 
in die forests at die foot of die lower slopes. And diere diey were 
at last, having stumbled in unexpectedly upon the construction 
camp. The engineer at die railhead told his chief by wire that he 
had Pedro Montero absolutely diere, in die very office, listening to 
die clicks. He was going to take possession of Sulaco in die name 
of die democracy. He was very overbearing. His men slaughtered 
some of die railway company's cattle without asking leave, and 
went to work broiling die meat on die embers. Pedrito made many 
pointed inquiries as to the silver mine, and what had become of 
die product of die last six months' working. He had said 
peremptorily, 'Ask your chief up diere by wire, he ought to know; 
tell him diat Don Pedro Montero, Chief of die Campo and 
Minister of die Interior of die new government, desires to be 
correctiy informed.' 

"He had his feet wrapped up in bloodstained rags, a lean, 
haggard face, ragged beard and hair, and had walked in limping, 
widi a crooked branch of a tree for a staff. His followers were 
perhaps in a worse plight, but apparendy diey had not dirown away 
their arms, and, at any rate, not all dieir ammunition. Their lean 
faces filled die door and die windows of die telegraph hut. As it 
was at the same time die bedroom of die engineer in charge diere, 
Montero had dirown himself on his clean blankets and lay diere 
shivering and dictating requisitions to be transmitted by wire to 
Sulaco. He demanded a train of cars to be sent down at once to 
transport his men up. 

"'To diis I answered from my end,' die engineer in chief 
related to us, 'diat I dared not risk die rolling stock in die interior, 
as diere had been attempts to wreck trains all along die line several 
times. I did diat for your sake. Gould,' said die chief engineer. 
'The answer to diis was, in die words of my subordinate, die fildiy 
brute on my bed said, "Suppose I were to have you shot?" To 
which my subordinate, who, it appears, was himself operating, 
remarked diat it would not bring die cars up. Upon diat, the odier, 
yawning, said, "Never mind, diere is no lack of horses on the 
Campo." And, turning over, went to sleep on Harris's bed.' 

"This is why, my dear girl, I am a fugitive tonight. The last wire 
from railhead says that Pedro Montero and his men left at 
daybreak, after feeding on asado beef all night. They took all die 
horses; they will find more on die road; diey'll lie here in less dian 
diirty hours, and dius Sulaco is no place cither for me or die great 
store of silver belonging to die Gould Concession. 



"But that is not die worst. The garrison of Esmeralda has gone 
over to die victorious party. That news we have heard by means of 
die telegraphist of die cable company, who came to die Casa 
Gould in die early morning widi die news. In fact, it was so early 
diat die day had not yet quite broken over Sulaco. His colleague in 
Esmeralda had called him up to say diat die garrison, after 
shooting some of their officers, had taken possession of a 
government steamer laid up in die harbor. It is really a heavy blow 
for me. I diought I could depend on every man in diis province. It 
was a mistake. It was a Monterist revolution in Esmeralda, just 
such as was attempted in Sulaco, only diat diat one came off. The 
telegraphist was signaling to Bernhardt all die time, and his last 
transmitted words were, 'They are bursting in die door and taking 
possession of die cable office. You are cut off. Can do no more.' 

"But, as a matter of fact, he managed somehow to escape die 
vigilance of his captors, who had tried to stop die communication 
widi die outer world. He did manage it. How it was done I don't 
know, but a few hours afterwards he called up Sulaco again, and 
what he said was, 'The insurgent army has taken possession of die 
government transport in die bay and are filling her widi troops, 
widi die intention of going round die coast to Sulaco. Therefore 
look out for yourselves. They will be ready to start in a few hours, 
and may be upon you before daybreak.' 

"This is all he could say. They drove him away from his 
instrument diis time for good, because Bernhardt has been calling 
up Esmeralda ever since widiout getting an answer." 

After setting diese words down in the notebook which he was 
filling up for die benefit of his sister, Decoud lifted his head to 
listen. But diere were no sounds, neidier in die room nor in die 
house, except die drip of die w r ater from die filter into die vast 
eardienware jar under die wooden stand. And outside die house 
diere was a great silence. Decoud lowered his head again over die 
pocketbook. 

"I am not running away, you understand," he wrote on. "I am 
simply going away with diat great treasure of silver which must be 
saved at all costs. Pedro Montero from die Campo and die 
revolted garrison of Esmeralda from die sea are converging upon 
it. That it is diere lying ready for diem is only an accident. The real 
objective is die San Tome mine itself, as you may well imagine; 
otiierwise the Occidental Province w r ould have been, no doubt, left 
alone for many weeks, to be gadiered at leisure into die arms of 
die victorious party. Don Carlos Gould will have enough to do to 
save his mine, widi its organization and its people, diis 'Imperium 
in imperio,' diis w r ealdi producing tiling, to which his 
sentimentalism attaches a strange idea of justice. He holds to it as 
some men hold to die idea of love or revenge Unless I am much 
mistaken in die man, it must remain inviolate or perish by an act 



of his will alone. A passion has crept into his cold and idealistic 
life. A passion which I can only comprehend intellectually. A 
passion that is not like the passions we know, we men of another 
blood. But it is as dangerous as any of ours. 

"His wife has understood it too. That is why she is such a good 
ally of mine. She seizes upon all my suggestions with a sure instinct 
that in the end they make for the safety of the Gould Concession. 
And he defers to her because he trusts her perhaps, but I fancy 
more rather as if he wished to make up for some subtle wrong, for 
that sentimental unfaithfulness which surrenders her happiness, 
her life, to the seduction of an idea. The little woman has 
discovered that he lives for the mine rather than for her. But let 
them be. To each his fate, shaped by passion or sentiment. The 
principal tiling is that she has backed up my advice to get the silver 
out of the town, out of the country, at once, at any cost, at any risk. 
Don Carlos's mission is to preserve unstained the fair fame of his 
mine; Mrs. Gould's mission is to save him from the effects of that 
cold and overmastering passion, which she dreads more than if it 
were an infatuation for another woman. Nostromo's mission is to 
save the silver. The plan is to load it into the largest of the 
company's lighters, and send it across the gulf to a small port out 
of Costaguana territory, just on the other side the Azuera, where 
the first northbound steamers will get orders to pick it up. The 
waters here are calm; we shall slip away into the darkness of the 
gulf before the Esmeralda rebels arrive, and by the time the day 
breaks over tire ocean we shall be out of sight, invisible, hidden by 
Azuera, which itself looks from tire Sulaco shore like a faint blue 
cloud on tire horizon. 

"The incorruptible capataz de cargadores is tire man for that 
work; and I, tire man with a passion, but without a mission, I go 
with him to return— to play my part in tire farce to tire end, and, if 
successful, to receive my reward, which no one but Antonia can 
give me. 

"I shall not see her again now before I depart. I left her, as I 
have said, by Don Jose's bedside. The street was dark, tire houses 
shut up, and I walked out of the town in the night. Not a single 
streetlamp had been lit for two days, and the archway of tire gate 
was only a mass of darkness in tire vague form of a tower, in which 
I heard low, dismal groans, that seemed to answer the murmurs of 
a man's voice. 

"I recognized something impassive and careless in its tone, 
characteristic of that Genoese sailor who, like me, has come 
casually here to be drawn into the events for which his scepticism 
as well as mine seems to entertain a sort of passive contempt. The 
only tiling he seems to care for, as far as I have been able to 
discover, is to be well spoken of. An ambition fit for noble souls, 
but also a profitable one for an exceptionally intelligent scoundrel. 



Yes. His very words. 'To be well spoken of. Si, senor.' He does 
not seem to make any difference between speaking and thinking. 
Is it sheer naiveness or die practical point of view, I wonder? 
Exceptional individualities always interest me, because diey are 
true to die general formula expressing die moral state of humanity. 

"He joined me on die harbor road after I had passed diem 
under die dark archway without stopping. It was a woman in 
trouble he had been talking to. Through discretion I kept silent 
while he walked by my side. After a time he began to talk himself 
It was not what I expected. It was only an old woman an old lace 
maker, in search of her son. one of die street sweepers employed 
by die municipality. Friends had come die day before at daybreak 
to die door of tiieir hovel calling him out. He had gone with them, 
and she had not seen him since; so she had left the food she had 
been preparing half cooked on die extinct embers, and had 
crawled out as far as die harbor, where she had heard diat some 
town mozos had been killed on die morning of die riot. One of 
die cargadores guarding die custom house had brought out a 
lantern, and had helped her to look at die few dead left lying about 
diere. Now she was creeping back, having failed in her search. So 
she sat down on die stone seat under die arch, moaning, because 
she was very tired. The capataz had questioned her, and after 
hearing her broken and groaning tale had advised her to go and 
look among die wounded in the patio of die Casa Gould. He had 
also given her a quarter-dollar, he mentioned carelessly. 

'"Why did you do diat?' I asked. 'Do you know her?' 

"'No, sefior. I don't suppose I have ever seen her before. How 
should I? She has not probably been out in die streets for years. 
She is one of those old women diat you find in this country at die 
back of huts, crouching over fireplaces, with a stick on die ground 
by tiieir side, and almost too feeble to drive away die stray dogs 
from tiieir cooking pots. Caramba! I could tell by her voice diat 
deadi had forgotten her. But, old or young, diey like money, and I, 
will speak well of the man who gives it to diem.' He laughed a 
littie. 'Sefior, you should have felt die a clutch of her paw as I put 
die piece in her palm.' He paused. 'My last, too,' he added. 

"I made no comment. He's known for his liberality and his 
bad luck at die game of monte, which keeps him as poor as when 
he first came here. 

'"I suppose, Don Martin,' he began, in a dioughtful, 
speculative tone, 'diat die Sefior Administrator of San Tome will 
reward me some day if I save his silver?' 

"I said diat it could not be odierwise, surely. He walked on, 
muttering to himself 'Si, si, widiout doubt— widiout doubt; and 
look you, Sefior Martin, what it is to be well spoken of! There is 
not another man diat could have been even diought of for such a 
tiling. I shall get somediing great for it some day. And let it come 



soon,' he mumbled. 'Time passes in this country as quick as 
anywhere else.' 

"This, soeur cherie, is my companion in the great escape for 
the sake of the great cause. He is more naive than shrewd, more 
masterful dian crafty, more generous with his personality dian die 
people who make use of him are with dieir money. At least, diat is 
what he thinks himself, widi more pride dian sentiment. I am glad 
I have made friends widi him As a companion he acquires more 
importance than he ever had as a sort of minor genius in his way— 
as an original Italian sailor whom I allowed to come in in die small 
hours and talk familiarly to die editor of die Poivenir while the 
paper was going dirough die press. And it is curious to have met a 
man for whom die value of life seems to consist in personal 
prestige. 

"I am waiting for him here now On arriving at die posada kept 
by Viola we found the children alone down below, and the old 
Genoese shouted to his countryman to go and fetch the doctor. 
Otherwise we would have gone on to die wharf, where it appears 
Captain Mitchell widi some volunteer Europeans and a few picked 
cargadores are loading die lighter widi die silver that must be saved 
from Montero's clutches in order to be used for Montero's defeat. 
Nostromo galloped furiously back towards die town. He has been 
long gone already. This delay gives me time to talk to you. By die 
time diis notebook reaches your hands much will have happened. 
But now it is a pause under the hovering wing of deadi in diat 
silent house buried in die black night, widi diis dying woman, die 
two children crouching widiout a sound, and diat old man whom I 
can hear dirough die thickness of die wall passing up and down 
widi a light rubbing noise no louder dian a mouse. And I, die only 
odier widi diem, don't really know whether to count myself widi 
die living or widi die dead. 'Quien sabe?' as die people here are 
prone to say in answer to every question. But no! feeling for you is 
certainly not dead, and die whole tiling, die house, die dark night, 
die silent children in diis dim room, my very presence here— all 
this is life, must be life, since it is so much like a dream." 

Widi die writing of the last line tiiere came upon Decoud a 
moment of sudden and complete oblivion. He swayed over die 
table as if struck by a bullet. The next moment he sat up, 
confused, widi die idea that he had heard his pencil roll on the 
floor. The low door of die cafe, wide open was filled widi die glare 
of a torch in which was visible half of a horse, switching its tail 
against the leg of a rider widi a long iron spur strapped to the 
naked heel. The two girls were gone, and Nostromo, standing in 
the middle of die room, looked at him from under die round brim 
of die sombrero pulled low down over his brow. 

"I have brought diat sour faced English doctor in Seiiora 
Gould's carriage," said Nostromo. "I doubt if, widi all his wisdom, 



he can save the padrona this time. They have sent for the children 
A bad sign that." 

He sat down on tire end of a bench. "She wants to give them 
her blessing, I suppose." 

Dazedly Decoud observed that he must have fallen sound 
asleep, and Nostromo said, with a vague smile, that he had looked 
in at die window and had seen him lying still across the table with 
his head on his arms. The English senora had also come in the 
carriage, and went upstairs at once with the doctor. She had told 
him not to wake up Don Martin yet; but when they sent for tire 
children he had come into tire cafe. 

The half of the horse with its half of the rider swung round 
outside the door; the torch of tow and resin in the iron basket 
which was carried on a stick at the saddlebow flared right into the 
room for a moment and Mrs. Gould entered hastily with a very 
white, tired face. The hood of her dark blue cloak had fallen back 
Both men rose. 

"Teresa wants to see you, Nostromo," she said. 

The capataz did not move. Decoud, with his back to the table, 
began to button up his coat. 

"The silver, Mrs. Gould, the silver." he murmured in English. 
"Don't forget that the Esmeralda garrison have got a steamer. They 
may appear at any moment at the harbor entrance." 

"The doctor says there is no hope." Mrs. Gould spoke rapidly, 
also in English. "I shall take you down to the wharf in my carriage 
and then come back to fetch away the girls." She changed swiftly 
into Spanish to address Nostromo. "Why are you wasting time? 
Old Giorgio's wife wishes to see you." 

"I am going to her, senora," muttered the capataz. 

Dr. Monygham now showed himself, bringing back the 
children. To Mrs. Gould's inquiring glance he only shook his head 
and went outside at once, followed by Nostromo. 

The horse of the torchbearer, motionless, hung his head low, 
and the rider had dropped tire reins to light a cigarette. The glare 
of the torch played on the front of the house, crossed by the big 
black letters of its inscription in which only the word "Italia" was 
lighted fully. The patch of wavering glare reached as far as Mrs. 
Gould's carriage waiting on the road, with the yellow-faced, portly 
Ignacio apparently dozing on the box. By his side Basilio, dark and 
skinny, held a Winchester carbine in front of him with both hands 
and peered fearfully into the darkness. Nostromo touched lightly 
the doctor's shoulder. 

"Is she really dying, Senor Doctor?" 

"Yes," said the doctor, with a strange twitch of his scarred 
cheek. "And why she wants to see you I cannot imagine." 

"She has been like that before," suggested Nostromo, looking 
away. 



"Well, capataz, I can assure you she will never be like that 
again," snarled Dr. Monygham. "You may go to her or stay away. 
There is very little to be got from talking to the dying. But she told 
Doha Emilia in my hearing that she has been like a mother to you 
ever since you first set foot ashore here." 

"Si! And she never had a good word to say for me to anybody. 
It is more as if she could not forgive me for being alive, and such a 
man, too, as she would have liked her son to be." 

"Maybe!" exclaimed a mournful deep voice near them. 
"Women have their own ways of tormenting themselves." Giorgio 
Viola had come out of the house. He threw a heavy black shadow 
in the torchlight, and the glare fell on his big face, on the great 
bushy head of white hair. He motioned the capataz indoors with 
his extended arm. 

Dr. Monygham, after busying himself with a little medicament 
box of polished wood on the seat of tire landau, turned to old 
Giorgio and thrust into his big trembling hand one of tire glass- 
stoppered bottles out of the case. 

"Give her a spoonful of this now and then, in water," he said. 
"It will nrake her easier." 

"And there is nothing nrore for her?" asked tire old man 
patiently. 

"No. Not on earth," said tire doctor, with his back to him, 
clicking tire lock of tire medicine case. 

Nostromo slowly crossed tire large kitchen, all dark but for the 
glow of a heap of charcoal under tire heavy mantel of tire cooking 
range, where water was boiling in an iron pot with a loud, bubbling 
sound. Between tire two walls of a narrow staircase a bright light 
streamed from tire sickroom above; and tire magnificent capataz 
de cargadores stepping noiselessly in soft leather sandals, bushy 
whiskered, his nruscular nook and bronzed chest bare in tire open 
checked shirt, resembled a Mediterranean sailor just conre ashore 
from sonre wine or fruit laden felucca. At tire top he paused, broad 
shouldered, narrow hipped and supple, looking at tire large bed, 
like a white couch of state, with a profusion of snowy linen, among 
which tire padrona sat unpropped and bowed, her handsome, 
black-browed face bent over her chest. A nrass of raven hair with 
only a few white threads in it covered her shoulders; one thick 
strand fallen forward half veiled her cheek. Perfectly motionless in 
that pose, expressing physical anxiety and unrest, she turned her 
eyes alone towards Nostromo. 

The capataz had a red sash wound many times round his waist, 
and a heavy silver ring on the forefinger of tire hand he raised to 
give a twist to his mustache. 

"Their revolutions— their revolutions!" gasped Sehora Teresa. 
"Look, Gian' Battista, it has killed nre at last!" 

Nostromo said nothing, and tire sick woman with an upward 



glance insisted. "Look, this one has killed me, while you were away 
lighting lor what did not concern you, foolish man." 

"Why talk like diis?" mumbled die capataz hetween his teedi. 
"Will you never believe in my good sense? It concerns me to keep 
on being what I am; every day alike." 

"You never change, indeed," she said, bitterly. "Always 
diinking of yourself and taking your pay out in fine words from 
diose who care nodiing for you." 

There was between diem an intimacy of antagonism as close in 
its way as die intimacy of accord and affection. He had not walked 
along die way of Teresa's expectations. It was she who had 
encouraged him to leave his ship, in the hope of securing a friend 
and defender for die girls. The wife of old Giorgio was aware of 
her precarious health, and was haunted by die fear of her aged 
husband's loneliness and die unprotected state of die children. She 
had wanted to annex diat apparendy quiet and steady young man, 
affectionate and pliable, an orphan from his tenderest age, as he 
had told her, with no ties in Italy except an uncle, owner and 
master of a felucca, from whose ill usage he had run away before 
he was fourteen. He had seemed to her courageous, a hard 
worker, determined to make his way in die world. From gratitude 
and die ties of habit he would become like a son to herself and 
Giorgio; and dien, who knows, when Linda had grown up ... . 
Ten years difference between husband and wife was not so much. 
Her own great man was nearly twenty years older dian herself. 
Gian' Battista was an attractive young fellow, besides; attractive to 
men, women, and children, just by that profound quietness of 
personality which, like a serene twilight, rendered more seductive 
die promise of his vigorous form and die resolution of his conduct. 

Old Giorgio, in profound ignorance of his wife's views and 
hopes, had a great regard for his young countryman. "A man ought 
not to be tame," he used to tell her, quoting die Spanish proverb 
in defence of die splendid capataz. She was growing jealous of his 
success. He was escaping from her, she feared. She was practical, 
and he seemed to her to be an absurd spenddirift of diese qualities 
which made him so valuable. He got too littie for diem. He 
scattered diem with bodi hands among too many people, she 
diought. He laid no money by. She railed at his poverty, his 
exploits, his adventures, his loves and his reputation; but in her 
heart she had never given him up, as diough, indeed, he had been 
her son. 

Even now, ill as she was, ill enough to feel die chill, black 
breadi of die approaching end, she had wished to see him. It was 
like putting out her benumbed hand to regain her hold. But she 
had presumed too much on her strengdi. She could not command 
her dioughts; diey had become dim, like her vision. The words 
faltered on her lips, and only die paramount anxiety and desire of 



her life seemed to be too strong for death. 

The capataz said, "I have heard these things many times. You 
are unjust, but it does not hurt me. Only now you do not seem to 
have much strength to talk, and I have but little time to listen. I am 
engaged in a work of very great moment." 

She made an effort to ask him whether it was true that he had 
found time to go and fetch a doctor for her. Nostromo nodded 
affirmatively. 

She was pleased: it relieved her sufferings to know that the 
man had condescended to do so much for those who really 
wanted his help. It was a proof of his friendship. Her voice 
became stronger. 

"I want a priest more than a doctor," she said, pathetically. She 
did not move her head; only her eyes ran into the corners to watch 
the capataz standing by the side of her bed. "Would you go to 
fetch a priest for me now? Think! A dying woman asks you!" 

Nostromo shook his head resolutely. He did not believe in 
priests in their sacerdotal character. A doctor was an efficacious 
person; but a priest, as priest, was nothing, incapable of doing 
either good or harm. Nostromo did not even dislike the sight of 
them as old Giorgio did. The utter uselessness of the errand was 
what struck him most. 

"Padrona," he said, "you have been like this before, and got 
better after a few days, I have given you already the very last 
moments I can spare. Ask Sefiora Gould to send you one." 

He was feeling uneasy at the impiety of this refusal. The 
padrona believed in priests, and confessed herself to them. But all 
women did that. It could not be of much consequence. And yet his 
heart felt oppressed for a moment at the thought what absolution 
would mean to her if she believed in it only ever so little. No 
matter. It was quite true that he had given her already the very last 
moment he could spare. 

"You refuse to go?" she gasped. "Ah! you are always yourself, 
indeed." 

"Listen to reason, padrona," he said. "I am needed to save the 
silver of the mine. Do you hear? A greater treasure than the one 
which they say is guarded by ghosts and devils on Azuera. It is 
true. I am resolved to make this the most desperate affair I was 
ever engaged on in my whole life." 

She felt a despairing indignation. The supreme test had failed. 
Standing above her, Nostromo did not see the distorted features of 
her face, distorted by a paroxysm of pain and anger. Only she 
began to tremble all over. Her bowed head shook. The broad 
shoulders quivered. 

"Then God, perhaps, will have mercy upon me. But do you 
look to it, man, that you get something for yourself out of it, 
besides the remorse that shall overtake you some day." 



She laughed feebly. "Get riches at least for once, you 
indispensable, admired Gian' Battista, to whom die peace of a 
dying woman is less dian die praise of people who have given you 
a silly name— and nodiing besides— in exchange for your soul and 
body." The capataz de cargadores swore to himself under his 
breath. 

"Leave my soul alone, padrona, and I shall know how to take 
care of my body. Where is die harm of people having need of me? 
What are you envying me diat I have robbed you and die children 
of? Those very people you are throwing in my teedi have done 
more for old Giorgio dian diey ever thought of doing for me." 

He struck his breast widi his open palm; his voice had 
remained low diough he had spoken in a forcihle tone. He twisted 
his mustaches one after anodier, and his eyes wandered a little 
about die room. 

"Is it my fault diat I am the only man for dieir purposes? What 
angry nonsense are you talking, modier? Would you radier have 
me timid and foolish, selling watermelons on die marketplace or 
rowing a boat for passengers along the harbor, like a soft 
Neapolitan widiout courage or reputation? Would you have a 
young man live like a monk? I do not believe it. Would you want a 
monk for your eldest girl? Let her grow. What are you afraid of? 
You have been angry with me for everydiing I did for years; ever 
since you first spoke to me, in secret from old Giorgio, about your 
Linda. Husband to one and brodier to die odier, did you say? 
Well, why not? I like die little ones, and a man must marry some 
time. But ever since tiiat time you have been making little of me to 
every one. Why? Did you diink you could put a collar and chain 
on me as if I were one of die watchdogs diey keep over diere in 
die railway yards? Look here, padrona, I am die same man who 
came ashore one evening and sat down in die diatched rancho you 
lived in at diat time on die odier side of die town and told you all 
about himself. You were not unjust to me dien. What has 
happened since? I am no longer an insignificant youdi. A good 
name, Giorgio says, is a treasure, padrona." 

"They have turned your head widi their praises," gasped die 
sick woman. "They have been paying you widi words. Your folly 
shall betray you into poverty, misery, starvation. The very leperos 
shall laugh at you— die great capataz." 

Nostromo stood for a time as if struck dumb. She never 
looked at him. A self-confident, mirdiless smile passed quickly 
from his lips, and dien he backed away. His disregarded figure 
sank down beyond die doorway. He descended die stairs 
backward, widi die usual sense of having been somehow baffled by 
diis woman's disparagement of this reputation he had obtained 
and desired to keep. 

Downstairs in die big kitchen a candle was burning, 



surrounded by die shadows of die walls on die ceiling, but no 
ruddy glare filled die open square of die outer door. The carriage 
widi Mrs. Gould and Don Martin, preceded by die horseman 
bearing die torch, had gone on to the jetty. Dr. Monyghani, who 
had remained, sat on die corner of a hard wood table near the 
candlestick, his seamed, shaven face inclined sideways, his arms 
crossed on his breast, his lips pursed up, and his prominent eyes 
glaring stonily upon the door of black earth. Near die overhanging 
mantel of die fireplace, where die pot of water was still boiling 
violently, old Giorgio held his chin in his hand, one foot advanced, 
as if arrested by a sudden diought. 

"Adios, viejo," said Nostromo, feeling die handle of his 
revolver in die belt and loosening his knife in its sheadi. He picked 
up a blue poncho lined with red from die table, and put it over his 
head. "Adios, look after die tilings in my sleeping room, and if you 
hear from me no more, give up die box to Paquita. There is not 
much of value there except my new serape from Mexico and a few 
silver buttons on my best jacket. No matter! The tilings will look 
well enough on the next lover she gets, and die man need not be 
afraid I shall linger on eardi after I am dead, like diose gringos that 
haunt the Azuera." 

Dr. Monyghani twisted his lips into a bitter smile. After old 
Giorgio, with an almost imperceptible nod and widiout a word, 
had gone up die narrow stairs, he said: 

"Why, capataz! I diought you could never fail in anything." 

Nostromo, glancing contemptuously at the doctor, lingered in 
die doorway rolling a cigarette, dien struck a match, and, after 
lighting it, held die burning piece of wood above his head till the 
dame nearly touched his fingers. 

"No wind!" he muttered to himself. "Look here, seiior— do you 
know die nature of my undertaking?" 

Dr. Monyghani nodded sourly. 

"It is as if I were taking a curse upon me, Seiior Doctor. A 
man with a treasure on this coast will have every knife raised 
against him in every place upon die shore. You see that, Seiior 
Doctor? I shall doat along with a spell upon my life till I meet 
somewhere the nortiVbound steamer of the company, and dien 
indeed diey will talk about the capataz of the Sulaco cargadores 
from one end of America to die odier." 

Dr. Monyghani laughed his short, diroaty laugh. Nostromo 
turned round in die doorway. 

"But if your worship can find any odier man ready and fit for 
such business I will stand back. I am not exacdy tired of my life, 
diough I am so poor that I can carry all I have with myself on my 
horse's back." 

"You gamble too much, and never say 'no' to a pretty face, 
capataz," said Dr. Monyghani, with sly simplicity. "That's not die 



way to make a fortune. But nobody that I know ever suspected you 
of being poor. I hope you have made a good bargain in case you 
come back safe from diis adventure." 

"What bargain would your worship have made?" asked 
Nostromo, blowing die smoke out of his lips dirough die doorway. 

Dr. Monygham listened up die staircase for a moment before 
he answered, widi another of his short, abrupt laughs: 

"Illustrious capataz, for taking die curse of death upon my 
back, as you call it, nothing else but the whole treasure would do." 

Nostromo vanished out of the doorway widi a grunt of 
discontent at diis jeering answer. Dr. Monygham heard him gallop 
away. He rode furiously in die dark. There were lights in the 
buildings of die O.S.N. Company near die wharf, but before he 
got diere he met die Gould carriage. The horseman preceded it 
widi die torch, whose light showed die white mules trotting, the 
portly Ignacio driving, and Basilio with die carbine at ready on die 
box. From die dark body of die landau Mrs. Gould's voice cried, 
"They are waiting for you, capataz!" She was returning, chilly and 
excited, with Decoud's notebook still held in her hand. He had 
confided it to her to send to his sister. "Perhaps my last words to 
her," he had said, pressing Mrs. Gould's hand. 

The capataz never checked his speed. At the head of die wharf 
vague figures with rifles leaped to the head of his horse; others 
closed upon him— cargadores of die company posted by Captain 
Mitchell on, die watch. At a word from him they fell back with 
subservient murmurs, recognizing his voice. At the other end of 
die jetty, near a cargo crane, in a dark group with glowing cigars, 
his name was pronounced in a tone of relief. Most of die 
Europeans in Sulaco were diere, rallied round Charles Gould, as if 
die silver of die mine had been the emblem of a common cause, 
die symbol of die supreme importance of material interests. They 
had loaded it into die lighter with dieir own hands. Nostromo 
recognized Don Charles Gould, a diin, tall shape, standing a little 
apart and silent, to whom anodier tall shape, die engineer-in-chief, 
said aloud, "If it must be lost, it is a million times better that it 
should go to the bottom of die sea." 

Martin Decoud called out from die lighter, "Au revoir, 
messieurs, till we clasp hands again over die newborn Occidental 
Republic." Only a subdued murmur responded to his clear, 
ringing tones; and dien it seemed to him diat die wharf was floating 
away into die night; but it was Nostromo, who was already pushing 
against a pile widi one of die heavy sweeps. Decoud did not move; 
die effect was diat of being launched into space. After a splash or 
two there was not a sound but die diud of Nostromo's feet leaping 
about die boat. He hoisted the big sail; a breadi of wind fanned 
Decoud's cheek. Everything had vanished but die light of die 
lantern Captain Mitchell had hoisted upon die post at die end of 



die jetty to guide Nostromo out of die harbor. 

The two men, unable to see each odier, kept silent till die 
lighter, slipping before die fitful breeze, passed out between almost 
invisible headlands into the still deeper darkness of die gulf. For a 
time die lantern on die jetty shone after diem. The wind failed, 
then fanned up again, but so faindy diat die big, half-decked boat 
slipped along with no more noise dian if she had been suspended 
in die air. 

"We are out in die gulf now," said die calm voice of 
Nostromo. A moment after he added, "Sefior Mitchell has 
lowered die light." 

"Yes," said Decoud; "nobody can find us now." 

A great recrudescence of obscurity embraced die boat. The sea 
in the gulf was as black as die clouds above. Nostromo, after 
striking a couple of matches to get a glimpse of die boat compass 
he had widi him in the lighter, steered by die feel of die wind on 
his cheek. 

It was a new experience for Decoud, this mysteriousness of die 
great waters spread out strangely smoodi, as if dieir resdessness 
had been crushed by die weight of diat dense night. The Placido 
was sleeping profoundly under its black poncho. 

The main tiling now for success was to get away from the coast 
and gain die middle of the gulf before day broke. The Isabels were 
somewhere at hand. "On your left as you look forward, sefior," 
said Nostromo, suddenly. When his voice ceased, die enormous 
stillness, without light or sound, seemed to affect Decoud's senses 
like a powerful drug. He didn't even know at times whether he 
were asleep or awake. Like a man lost in slumber, he heard 
nodiing, he saw nothing. Even his hand held before his face did 
not exist for his eyes. The change from die agitation, the passions 
and die dangers, from die sights and sounds of die shore, was so 
complete that it would have resembled deadi had it not been for 
die survival of his thoughts. In this foretaste of eternal peace diey 
floated vivid and light, like uneardily clear dreams of eardily tilings 
that may haunt the souls freed by deadi from the misty atmosphere 
of regrets and hopes. Decoud shook himself, shuddered a bit, 
diough the air that drifted past him was warm. He had die 
strangest sensation of his soul having just returned into his body 
from die circumambient darkness in which land, sea, sky, die 
mountains and die rocks were as if they had not been. 

Nostromo's voice was speaking, though he, at the tiller, was 
also as if he were not. "Have you been asleep, Don Martin? 
Caramba! If it were possible I would diink that I, too, have dozed 
off. I have a strange notion somehow of having dreamed diat there 
was a sound of blubbering, a sound a sorrowing man could make, 
somewhere near diis boat. Something between a sigh and a sob." 

"Strange," muttered Decoud, stretched upon die pile of 



treasure boxes covered by many tarpaulins. "Could it be diat there 
is another boat near us in die gulf? We could not see it, you 
know." 

Nostromo laughed a little at dre absurdity of die idea. They 
dismissed it from dieir minds. The solitude could almost be felt. 
And when die breeze ceased, die blackness seemed to weigh upon 
Decoud like a stone. 

"This is overpowering," he muttered. "Do we move at all, 
capataz?" 

"Not so fast as a crawling beede tangled in die grass," answered 
Nostromo, and his voice seemed deadened by die diick veil of 
obscurity diat felt warm and hopeless all about diem. There were 
long periods when he made no sound, invisible and inaudible as if 
he had mysteriously stepped out of die lighter. 

In die featureless night Nostromo was not even certain which 
way the lighter headed after the wind had completely died out. He 
peered for die islands. There was not a hint of diem to be seen, as 
if diey had sunk to die bottom of die gulf. He direw himself down 
by die side of Decoud at last, and whispered into his ear that if 
daylight caught diem near die Sulaco shore dirough want of wind, 
it would be possible to sweep die lighter behind die cliff at die high 
end of die Great Isabel, where she would lie concealed. Decoud 
was surprised at die grimness of his anxiety. To him die removal of 
die treasure was a political move. It was necessary for several 
reasons diat it should not fall into die hands of Montero, but here 
was a man who took anodier view of diis enterprise. The 
caballeros over diere did not seem to have die slightest idea of 
what diey had given him to do. Nostromo, as if affected by die 
gloom around, seemed nervously resentful. Decoud was surprised. 
The capataz, indifferent to diose dangers diat seemed obvious to 
his companion, allowed himself to become scornfully exasperated 
by die deadly nature of die trust put, as a matter of course, into his 
hands. It was more dangerous, Nostromo said, widi a laugh and a 
curse, than sending a man to get die treasure that people said was 
guarded by devils and ghosts in die deep ravines of Azuera. 
"Senor," he said, "we must catch die steamer at sea. We must 
keep out in die open looking for her till we have eaten and drunk 
all diat has been put on board here. And if we miss her by some 
mischance we must keep away from die land till we grow weak and 
perhaps mad, and die, and drift, dead, until one or anodier of die 
steamers of die Compaiiia conies upon die boat with die two dead 
men who have saved die treasure. That, senor, is die only way to 
save it; for, don't you see, for us to come to die land anywhere in a 
hundred miles along diis coast widi this silver in our possession is 
to run die naked breast against die point of a knife. This tiling has 
been given to me like a deadly disease. If men discover it I am 
dead, and you, too, senor, since you would come widi me. There 



is enough silver to make a whole province rich, let alone a 
seahoard puehlo inhabited by thieves and vagabonds. Sehor, they 
would think that Heaven itself sent these riches into their hands, 
and would cut our throats without hesitation. I would trust no fair 
words from the hest man around the shores of this wild gulf. 
Reflect that even by giving up the treasure at the first demand we 
would not be able to save our lives. Do you understand this, or 
must I explain?" 

"No, you needn't explain," said Decoud, a little listlessly. "I 
can see it well enough myself, that the possession of so much 
treasure is very much like a deadly disease for men situated as we 
are. But it had to he removed from Sulaco, and you were tire man 
for tire task." 

"I was. But I cannot believe," said Nostromo, "that its loss 
would have impoverished Don Carlos Gould very much. There is 
nrore wealth in tire nrountain. I have heard it rolling down the 
shoots on quiet nights when I used to ride to Rincon to see a 
certain girl, after nry work at tire harbor was done. For years tire 
rich rocks have been pouring down with a noise like thunder, and 
the nriners say that there is enough at tire heart of the nrountain to 
thunder on for years and years to conre. And yet, tire day before 
yesterday, we have been fighting to save it from tire nrob, and 
tonight I am sent out with it into this darkness where there is no 
wind to get away with, as if it were tire last lot of silver on earth to 
get bread for tire hungry with. Ha! ha! Well, I anr going to nrake it 
tire nrost famous and desperate affair of nry life— wind or no wind. 
It shall be talked about when tire little children are grown up and 
the grown men are old. Aha! tire Monterists nrust not get hold of 
it, I anr told, whatever happens to Nostromo tire capataz; and they 
shall not have it, I tell you, since it has been tied for safety round 
Nostronro's neck." 

"I see it," nrurnrured Decoud. He saw, indeed, that his 
companion had his own peculiar view of this enterprise. 

Nostromo interrupted his reflections upon tire way nren's 
qualities are nrade use of without any fundamental knowledge of 
their nature, by tire proposal that they should slip tire long oars out 
and sweep tire lighter in the direction of tire Isabels. It wouldn't do 
for daylight to reveal tire treasure floating within a nrile or so of tire 
harhor entrance. The denser the darkness generally, tire smarter 
were tire puffs of wind on which he had reckoned to nrake his way; 
but tonight tire gulf under its poncho of clouds remained 
hreathless, as if dead rather than asleep. 

Don Martin's soft hands suffered cruelly, tugging at tire thick 
handle of tire enormous oar. He stuck to it manfully, setting his 
teeth. He, too, was in tire toils of an imaginative existence, and that 
strange work of pulling a lighter seenred to belong naturally to tire 
inception of a new state, acquired air ideal meaning from his love 



for Antonia. For all their efforts the heavily laden lighter hardly 
moved. Nostromo could he heard swearing to himself between die 
regular splashes of die sweeps. "We are making a crooked padi," 
he muttered to himself. "I wish I could see die islands." 

In his unskilfulness Don Martin overexerted himself. Now and 
then a sort of muscular faintness would run from the tips of his 
aching fingers through every fibre of his body and pass off in a 
flush of heat. He had fought, talked, suffered mentally and 
physically, exerting his mind and body for die last forty-eight hours 
widiout intermission. He had had no rest, very little food, no pause 
in the stress of his thoughts and his feelings. Even his love for 
Antonia, whence he drew his strengdi and his inspiration, had 
reached die point of tragic tension during dieir hurried interview 
by Don Jose's bedside. And now, suddenly, he was dirown out of 
all diis into a dark gulf whose very gloom, silence, and breadiless 
peace added a torment to die necessity for physical exertion. He 
imagined die lighter sinking to die bottom with an extraordinary 
shudder of delight. "I am on die verge of delirium," he diought. 
He mastered die trembling of all his limbs, of his breast, die 
inward trembling of all his body, exhausted of its nervous force. 

"Shall we rest, capataz?" he proposed, in a careless tone. 
"There are many hours of night yet before us." 

"True. It is but a mile or so, I suppose. Rest your arms, senor, 
if diat is what you mean. You will find no odier sort of rest, I can 
promise you, since you let yourself be bound to this treasure 
whose loss would make no poor man poorer. No, seiior; there is 
no rest till we find a northbound steamer, or else some ship finds 
us drifting about stretched out dead upon die Englishman's silver. 
Or, radier— no, por Dios! I shall cut down die gunwale with the axe 
right to die water's edge before diirst and hunger rob me of my 
strengdi. By all die saints and devils, I shall let die sea have the 
treasure radier dian give it up to any stranger. Since it was die good 
pleasure of die caballeros to send me off on such an errand, diey 
shall learn I am just die man diey take me for." 

Decoud lay on the silver boxes panting. All his active 
sensations and feelings, from as far back as he could remember, 
seemed to him die maddest of dreams. Even his passionate 
devotion to Antonia, into which he had worked himself up out of 
die depths of his scepticism, had lost all appearance of reality. For 
a moment he was die prey of an extremely languid but not 
unpleasant indifference. 

"I am sure diey didn't mean you to take such a desperate view 
of diis affair," he said. 

"What was it then? A joke?" snarled die man who, on die pay 
sheets of die O.S.N. Company's establishment in Sulaco, was 
described as "Foreman of die wharf against die figure of his 
wages. "Was it for a joke diat diey woke me up from my sleep 



after two days of street fighting to make me stake my life upon a 
bad card? Everybody knows, too, diat I am not a lucky gambler." 

"Yes, everybody knows of your good luck widi women, 
capataz," Decoud propitiated his companion, in a weary drawl. 

"Look here, sefior," Nostromo went on, "I never even 
remonstrated about diis affair. Directly I heard what was wanted I 
saw what a desperate affair it must be, and I made up my mind to 
see it out. Every minute was of importance. I had to wait for you 
first. Then, when we arrived at die Italia Una, old Giorgio shouted 
to me to go for the English doctor. Later on diat poor dying 
woman wanted to see me, as you know. Seiior, I was reluctant to 
go. I felt already diis cursed silver growing heavy upon my back, 
and I was afraid diat, knowing herself to be dying, she would ask 
me to ride off again for a priest. Fadier Corbelan, who is fearless, 
would have come at a word, but Father Corbelan is far away safe, 
widi the band of Hernandez, and die populace diat would have 
liked to tear him to pieces are much incensed against die priests. 
Not a single fat padre would have consented to put his head out of 
his hiding place tonight to save a Christian soul except, perhaps, 
under my protection. That was in her mind. I pretended I did not 
believe she was going to die. Senor, I refused to fetch a priest for a 
dying woman ..." 

Decoud was heard to stir. 

"You did, capataz!" he exclaimed. His tone changed. "Well, 
you know— it was rather fine." 

"You do not believe in priests, Don Martin? Neither do I. 
What was die use of wasting time? But she— she believes in them. 
The tiling sticks in my throat. She may be dead already, and here 
we are floating helpless with no wind at all. Curse on all 
superstition. She died thinking I deprived her of paradise, I 
suppose. It shall be die most desperate affair of my life." 

Decoud remained lost in reflection. He tried to analyze the 
sensations awakened by what he had been told. The voice of die 
capataz was heard again. 

"Now, Don Martin, let us take up the sweeps and try to find 
die Isabels. It is either that or sinking die lighter if die day 
overtakes us. We must not forget that die steamer from Esmeralda 
with the soldiers may be coming along. We will pull straight on 
now. I have discovered a bit of a candle here, and we must take 
die risk of a small light to make a course by die boat compass. 
There is not enough wind to blow it out— may die curse of Heaven 
fall upon diis blind gulf." 

A small flame appeared burning quite straight. It showed 
fragmentally die stout ribs and planking in the hollow, empty part 
of die lighter. Decoud could see Nostromo standing up to pull. He 
saw him as high as the red sash on his waist, with a gleam of a 
white -handled revolver and die wooden haft of a long knife 



protruding on his left side. Decoud nerved himself for die effort of 
rowing. Certainly there was not enough wind to hlow die candle 
out, hut its flame swayed a litde to die slow movement of die heavy 
hoat. It was so hig diat widi dieir utmost efforts diey could not 
move it quicker dian ahout a mile an hour. This was sufficient, 
however, to sweep diem among die Isahels long before daylight 
came. There was a good six hours of darkness before diem, and 
the distance from die harbor to die Great Isabel did not exceed 
two miles. Decoud put this heavy toil to die account of the 
capataz's impatience. Sometimes diey paused, and dien bodi 
strained dieir ears to hear die boat from Esmeralda. In this perfect 
quietness a steamer moving would have been heard from far off. 
As to seeing anydiing, it was out of the question. They could not 
see each odier. Even die lighter's sail, which remained set, was 
invisible. Very often diey rested. 

"Caramba!" said Nostromo, suddenly, during one of diose 
intervals when diey lolled idly against the heavy handles of die 
sweeps. "What is it? Are you distressed, Don Martin?" 

Decoud assured him diat he was not distressed in die least. 
Nostromo for a time kept perfectly still, and dien in a whisper 
invited Martin to come aft. 

With his lips touching Decoud's ear, he declared his belief diat 
diere was somebody else besides diemselves upon the lighter. 
Twice now he had heard die sound of stifled sobbing. "Senor," he 
whispered, with awed wonder, "I am certain diat diere is 
somebody weeping on diis lighter." 

Decoud had heard nodiing. He expressed his incredulity. 
However, it was easy to ascertain die trudi of die matter. 

"It is most amazing!" muttered Nostromo. "Could anybody 
have concealed himself on board while die lighter was lying 
alongside die wharf?" 

"And you say it was like sobbing?" asked Decoud, lowering his 
voice, too. "If he is weeping, whoever he is, he cannot be very 
dangerous." 

Clambering over die precious pile in die middle, diey 
crouched low on die fore side of die mast and groped under the 
half deck Right forward, in die narrowest part, dieir hands came 
upon the limbs of a man who remained as silent as death. Too 
startied diemselves to make a sound, diey dragged him aft by one 
arm and the collar of his coat. He was limp, lifeless. 

The light of die bit of candle fell upon a round, hook-nosed 
face with black mustaches and litde side whiskers. He was 
extremely dirty. A greasy growth of beard was sprouting on the 
shaven parts of die cheeks. The diick lips were slighdy parted, but 
the eyes remained closed. Decoud, to his immense astonishment, 
recognized Senor Hirsch, die hide merchant from Esmeralda. 
Nostromo, too, had recognized him; and diey gazed at each odier 



across that bod)' lying with its naked feet higher than its head in an 
absurd pretence of sleep, faintness, or death. 



VIII 



FOR a moment, before this extraordinary find, they forgot their 
own concerns and sensations. Senor Hirsch's sensations as he lay 
there must have been those of extreme terror. For a long time he 
refused to give a sign of life, till at last Decoud's objurgations and, 
perhaps more, Nostromo's impatient suggestion that he should be 
thrown overboard, as he seemed to be dead, induced him to raise 
one eyelid first and then the other. 

It appealed that he had never found a safe opportunity to leave 
Sulaco. He lodged with Anzani, the universal storekeeper on the 
Plaza Mayor. But when the riot broke out he had made his escape 
from his host's house before daylight, and in such a hurry that he 
had forgotten to put on his shoes. He had run out impulsively in 
his socks, and with his hat in his hand, into the garden of Anzani's 
house. Fear gave him the necessary agility to climb over several low 
walls, and afterwards he blundered into the overgrown cloisters of 
the ruined Franciscan convent in one of the bystreets. He forced 
himself into the midst of matted bushes with the recklessness of 
desperation, and this accounted for his scratched body and his 
torn clothing. He lay hidden there all day, his tongue cleaving to 
the roof of his mouth with all the intensity of thirst engendered by 
heat and fear. Three times different bands of men invaded the 
place with shouts and imprecations looking for Father Corbelan, 
but towards the evening, still lying on his face in the bushes, he 
thought he would die from the fear of silence. He was not very 
clear as to what had induced him to leave the place, but evidently 
he had got out and slunk successfully out of town along the 
deserted back lanes. He wandered in the darkness near the 
railway, so maddened by apprehension that he dared not even 
approach the fires of tire pickets of Italian workmen guarding the 
line. He had a vague idea evidently of finding refuge in tire railway 
yards, but tire dogs rushed upon him barking, men began to shout, 
a shot was fired at random. He fled away from tire gates. By tire 
merest accident, as it happened, he took tire direction of tire 
O.S.N. Company's offices. Twice he stunrbled upon tire bodies of 
men killed during tire day. But everything living frightened him 
much nrore. He crouched, crept, crawled, nrade dashes guided by 
a sort of animal instinct, keeping away fronr every light and, fronr 
every sound of voices. His idea was to throw himself at tire feet of 
Captain Mitchell and beg for shelter in tire company's offices. It 
was all dark there as he approached on his hands and knees, but 
suddenly some one on guard challenged loudly, "Quien vive?" 



There were more dead men tying about, and he flattened himself 
down at once by the side of a cold corpse. He heard a voice saying, 
"Here is one of those wounded rascals crawling about. Shall I go 
and finish him?" And another voice objected that it was not safe to 
go out without a lantern upon such an errand. Perhaps it was only 
some negro Liberal looking for a chance to stick a knife into the 
stomach of an honest man. Hirsch didn't stay to hear any more, 
But, crawling away to the end of the wharf, hid himself among a lot 
of empty casks. After a while some people came along talking and 
with glowing cigarettes. He did not stop to ask himself whether 
they would be likely to do him any harm, But bolted incontinently 
along die jetty, saw a lighter lying moored at the end, and threw 
himself into it. In his desire to find cover he crept right forward 
under the half deck, and he had remained there more dead than 
alive, suffering agonies of hunger and thirst, and almost fainting 
with terror when he heard numerous footsteps and the voices of 
the Europeans, who came in a body escorting the wagonload of 
treasure pushed along the rails by a squad of cargadores. He 
understood perfectly what was being done, from the talk, but did 
not disclose his presence from tire fear that he would not be 
allowed to remain. His only idea at tire time, overpowering and 
masterful, was to get away fronr this terrible Sulaco. And now he 
regretted it very much. He had heard Nostromo talk to Decoud 
and wished hinrself back on shore. He did not desire to be 
involved in any desperate affair— in a situation where one could not 
run away. The involuntary groans of his anguished spirit had 
betrayed him to the sharp ears of the capataz. 

They had propped him up in a sitting posture against tire side 
of tire lighter, and he went on with tire nroaning account of his 
adventures till his voice broke, his head fell forward. "Water," he 
whispered, with difficulty. Decoud held one of tire cans to his lips. 
He revived after an extraordinarily short time and scranrbled up to 
his feet wildly. Nostromo, in an angry and threatening voice, 
ordered him forward. Hirsch was one of those nren whom fear 
lashes like a whip, and he nrust have had an appalling idea of tire 
capataz's ferocity. He displayed an extraordinary agility in 
disappearing forward into the darkness. They heard him getting 
over tire tarpaulin; then there was tire sound of a heavy fall 
followed by a weary sigh. Afterwards all was still in tire fore part of 
tire lighter, as though he had killed hinrself in his headlong tumble. 
Nostromo shouted in a nrenacing voice: 

"Lie still there! Do not move a limb! If I hear as much as a 
loud breath fronr you I shall conre over there and put a bullet 
through your head!" 

The nrere presence of a coward, however passive, brings an 
element of treachery into a dangerous situation. Nostronro's 
nervous impatience passed into gloomy tiroughtfulness. Decoud, 



in an undertone, as if speaking to himself, remarked that, after all, 
this hizarre event made no great difference. He could not conceive 
what harm the man could do. At most he would he in die way, like 
an inanimate and useless object— like a hlock of wood, for instance. 

"I would diink twice before getting rid of a piece of wood," 
said Nostromo, calmly. "Something may happen unexpectedly 
where you could make use of it. But in an affair like ours a man 
like this ought to be thrown overboard. Even if he were as brave as 
a lion we would not want him here. We are not running away for 
our lives. Sefior, there is no harm in a brave man trying to save 
himself with ingenuity and courage; but you have heard his tale, 
Don Martin. His being here is a miracle of fear—" Nostromo 
paused. "There is no room for fear in this lighter," he added, 
through his teeth. 

Decoud had no answer to make. It was not a position for 
argument, for a display of scruples or feelings. There were a 
thousand ways in which a panic stricken man could make himself 
dangerous. It was evident that Hirsch could not be spoken to, 
reasoned with, or persuaded into a rational line of conduct. The 
story of his own escape demonstrated that clearly enough. Decoud 
thought that it was a thousand pities the wretch had not died of 
fright. Nature, who had made him what he was, seemed to have 
calculated cruelly how much he could bear in the way of atrocious 
anguish without actually expiring. Some compassion was due to so 
much terror. Decoud, though imaginative enough for sympathy, 
resolved not to interfere with any action that Nostromo would 
take. But Nostromo did nothing. And the fate of Senor Hirsch 
remained suspended in the darkness of the gulf, at the mercy of 
events which could not be foreseen. 

The capataz, extending his hand, put out the candle suddenly. 
It was to Decoud as if his companion had destroyed by a single 
touch the world of affairs, of loves, of revolution, where his 
complacent superiority analyzed fearlessly all motives and all 
passions, including his own. 

He gasped a little. Decoud was affected by the novelty of his 
position. Intellectually self-confident, he suffered from being 
deprived of the only weapon he could use with effect. No 
intelligence could penetrate the darkness of the placid gulf. There 
remained only one tiling he was certain of, and that was the 
overweening vanity of his companion. It was direct, 
uncomplicated, naive, and effectual. Decoud, who had been 
making use of him, had tried to understand his man thoroughly. 
He had discovered a complete singleness of motive behind the 
varied manifestations of a consistent character. This was why the 
man remained so astonishingly simple in the jealous greatness of 
his conceit. And now there was a complication. It was evident that 
he resented having been given a task in which there were so many 



chances of failure. "I wonder," thought Decoud, "how he would 
behave if I were not here." 

He heard Nostromo mutter again, "No! There is no room for 
fear on this lighter. Courage itself does not seem good enough. I 
have a good eye and a stead)' hand; no man can say he ever saw 
me tired, or uncertain what to do; but, por Dios, Don Martin, I 
have been sent out into this black calm on a business where 
neither a good eye nor a steady hand nor judgment are any use. . . 
." He swore a string of oaths in Spanish and Italian under his 
breath. "Nothing but sheer desperation will do for this affair." 

These words were in strange contrast to the prevailing peace, 
to this almost solid stillness of the gulf. A shower fell with an 
abrupt, whispering sound all around the boat, and Decoud took 
off his hat, and, letting his head get wet, felt greatly refreshed. 
Presently a steady little draught of air caressed his cheek. The 
lighter began to move, but the shower distanced it. The drops 
ceased to fall upon his head and hands, the whispering died out in 
the distance. Nostromo emitted a grunt of satisfaction, and, 
grasping the tiller, chirruped softly, as sailors do, to encourage the 
wind. Never for the last three days had Decoud felt less the need 
for what the capataz would call desperation. 

"I fancy I hear another shower on the water," he observed, in a 
tone of quiet content. "I hope it will catch us up." 

Nostromo ceased chirruping at once. "You hear another 
shower?" he said, doubtfully. A sort of thinning of the darkness 
seemed to have taken place, and Decoud could see now the 
outline of his companion's figure, and even the sail came out of 
die night like a square block of dense shadow. 

The sound which Decoud had detected came along the water 
harshly. Nostromo recognized that noise, partaking of a hiss and a 
rustle which spreads out on all sides of a steamer making her way 
through smooth water on a quiet night. It could be nothing else but 
the captured transport with troops from Esmeralda. She carried no 
lights. The noise of her steaming, growing louder every minute, 
would stop at times altogether, and then begin again abruptly and 
sound startlingly nearer, as if that invisible vessel, whose position 
could not be precisely guessed, were making straight for the 
lighter. Meantime, that last kept on sailing slowly and noiselessly 
before a breeze so faint that it was only by leaning over tire side 
and feeling tire water slip through his fingers that Decoud 
convinced himself they were moving at all. His drowsy feeling had 
departed. He was glad to know that tire lighter was moving. After 
so much stillness tire noise of tire steanrer seenred uproarious and 
distracting. There was a weirdness in not being able to see her. 
Suddenly all was still. She had stopped, but so close to them that 
tire steam blowing off sent its rumbling vibration right over their 
heads. 



"They are trying to make out where they are," said Decoud, in 
a whisper. Again he leaned over and put his fingers into the water. 
"We are moving quite smardy," he informed Nostromo. 

"We seem to he crossing dieir hows," said die capataz, in a 
cautious tone. "But this is a hlind game with death. Moving on is of 
no use. We mustn't he seen or heard." 

His whisper was hoarse with excitement. Of all his face diere 
was nothing visihle hut a gleam of white eyehalls. His fingers 
gripped Decoud's shoulder. "That is die only way to save diis 
treasure from this steamer full of soldiers. Any odier would have 
carried lights. But you ohserve diere is not a gleam to show us 
where she is." Decoud stood as if paralyzed; only his dioughts 
were wildly active. In die space of a second he rememhered die 
desolate glance of Antonia as he left her at die hedside of her 
fadier, in die gloomy house of Avellanos, with shuttered windows, 
hut all die doors standing open, and deserted by all die servants 
except an old negro at die gate. He remembered die Casa Gould 
on his last visit; die arguments, die tones of his voice, die 
impenetrable attitude of Charles; Mrs. Gould's face, so blanched 
with anxiety and fatigue that her eyes seemed to have changed 
color, appearing nearly black by contrast. Even whole sentences of 
the proclamation which he meant to make Barrios issue from his 
headquarters at Cayta, as soon as he got diere, passed dirough his 
mind; die very germ of die new state, die Separationist 
proclamation which he had tried before he left to read hurriedly to 
Don Jose, stretched out on his bed under the fixed gaze of his 
daughter. God knows whedier die old statesman had understood 
it; he was unable to speak, but he had certainly lifted his arm off 
die coverlet; his hand had moved as if to make the sign of die 
cross in die air, a gesture of blessing, of consent. Decoud had diat 
very draft in his pocket, written in pencil on several loose sheets of 
paper, with the heavily printed heading: "Administration of die 
San Tome Silver Mine. Sulaco. Republic of Costaguana." He had 
written it furiously, snatching page after page on Charles Gould's 
table. Mrs. Gould had looked several times over his shoulder as he 
wrote; but die Seiior Administrator, standing straddle degged, 
would not even glance at it when it was finished. He had waved it 
away firmly. It must have been scorn, and not caution, since he 
never made a remark about the use of die administration's paper 
for such a compromising document. And diat showed his disdain, 
die true English disdain of common prudence, as if everything 
outside die range of dieir own dioughts and feelings were unwordiy 
of serious recognition. Decoud had the time in a second or two to 
become furiously angry widi Charles Gould, and even resentful 
against Mrs. Gould, in whose care, tacidy it is true, he had left die 
safety of Antonia. Better perish a diousand times than owe your 
preservation to such people, he exclaimed mentally. The grip of 



Nostromo's fingers, never removed from his shoulder, tightening 
fiercely, recalled him to himself 

"The darkness is our friend," the capataz murmured into his 
ear. "I am going to lower the sail, and trust our escape to this hlack 
gulf. No eyes could make us out lying silent with a naked mast. I 
will do it now, hefore this steamer closes still more upon us. The 
faint creak of a hlock would hetray us and the San Tome treasure 
into the hands of those thieves." 

He moved ahout as warily as a cat. Decoud heard no sound; 
and it was only hy the disappearance of the square hlotch of 
darkness that he knew the yard had come down, lowered as 
carefully as if it had heen made of glass. Next moment he heard 
Nostromo's quiet hreathing hy his side. 

"You had hetter not move at all from where you are, Don 
Martin," advised tire capataz, earnestly. "You might stumhle or 
displace something which would make a noise. The sweeps and 
the punting poles are lying ahout. Move not for your life. . . . Por 
Dios, Don Martin," he went on, in a keen hut friendly whisper. "I 
am so desperate that if I didn't know your worship to he a nran of 
courage, capahle of standing stock still whatever happens, I would 
drive my knife into your heart." 

A death like stillness surrounded tire lighter. It was difficult to 
helieve that there was near a steamer full of men, with many pairs 
of eyes peering fronr her hridge for sonre hint of land in tire night. 
Her steam had ceased blowing off and she remained stopped, too 
far off, apparently, for any other sound to reach tire lighter. 

"Perhaps you would, capataz," Decoud began, in a whisper. 
"However, you need not trouble. There are other things than tire 
fear of your knife to keep nry heart steady. It shall not betray you. 
Only, have you forgotten—" 

"I spoke to you openly, as to a nran as desperate as myself," 
explained tire capataz. "The silver nrust be saved fronr tire 
Monterists. I told Captain Mitchell three times that I preferred to 
go alone. I told Don Carlos Gould, too. It was in tire Casa Gould. 
They had sent for nre. The ladies were there; and when I tried to 
explain why I did not wish to have you with nre they pronrised nre. 
both of them, great rewards for your safety. A strange way to talk to 
a nran you are sending out to air almost certain death. Those 
gentlefolk do not seenr to have sense enough to understand what 
they are giving one to do. I told them I could do nothing for you. 
You would have been safer with tire bandit Hernandez. It would 
have been possible to ride out of tire town with no greater risk than 
a chance shot sent after you in tire dark. But it was as if they had 
been deaf. I had to pronrise I would wait for you under tire harbor 
gate. I did wait. And now, because you are a brave nran, you are as 
safe as tire silver. Neither nrore nor less." 

At that moment, as if by way of comment upon Nostromo's 



words, die invisible steamer went ahead, at half speed only, as 
could be judged by the leisurely s beat of her propeller. The 
sound shifted its place markedly, but without coming nearer. It 
even grew a little more distant right abeam of die lighter, and dien 
ceased again. 

"They are trying for a sight of die Isabels," muttered 
Nostromo, "in order to make for die harbor in a straight line, and 
seize die custom house widi die treasure in it. Have you ever seen 
die Comandante of Esmeralda, Sotillo? A handsome fellow with a 
soft voice. When I first came here I used to see him in die calle 
talking to die seiioritas at die windows of die houses, and showing 
his white teedi all die time. But one of my cargadores, who had 
been a soldier, told me that he had once ordered a man to be 
flayed alive in die remote Campo, where he was sent recruiting 
among die people of die Estancias. It has never entered his head 
that the compaiiia had a man capable of baffling his game." 

The murmuring loquacity of die capataz disturbed Decoud 
like a hint of weakness. And yet talkative resolution may be as 
genuine as grim silence. 

"Sotillo is not baffled so far," he said. "Have you forgotten diat 
crazy man forward?" 

Nostromo had not forgotten Seiior Hirsch. He reproached 
himself bitterly for not having visited die lighter carefully before 
leaving die wharf. He reproached himself for not having stabbed 
and flung him overboard at the very moment of discovery widiout 
even looking at his face. That would have been consistent with die 
desperate character of die affair. Whatever happened, Sotillo was 
already baffled. Even if diat wretch, now as silent as death, did 
anydiing to betray die nearness of die lighter, Sotillo— if Sotillo it 
was in command of die troops on board— would be still baffled of 
his plunder. 

"I have an axe in my hand," Nostromo whispered wradifully, 
"diat in diree strokes would cut dirough die side down to the 
water's edge. Moreover, each lighter has a plug in die stern and I 
know exactiy where it is. I feel it under die sole of my foot." 

Decoud recognized die ring of genuine determination in the 
nervous murmurs, the vindictive excitement of die famous capataz. 
Before die steamer, guided by a shriek or two (for diere could be 
no more dian diat, Nostromo said, gnashing his teedi audibly), 
could find die lighter tiiere would be plenty of time to sink this 
treasure tied up round his neck. 

The last words he hissed into Decoud's ear. Decoud said 
nothing. He was perfecdy convinced. The usual characteristic 
quietness of die man was gone. It was not equal to die situation as 
he conceived it. Somediing deeper, somediing unsuspected by 
everyone had mine to die surface. Decoud, with careful 
movements, slipped off his overcoat and divested himself of his 



boots; he did not consider himself bound in honor to sink widi die 
treasure. His object was to get down to Barrios in Cayta, as the 
capataz knew very well; and he, too, meant in his own way to put 
into diat attempt all die desperation of which he was capable. 
Nostromo muttered, "True, true! You are a politician, senor. 
Rejoin die army and start anodier revolution." He pointed out, 
however, tiiat there was a little boat belonging to every lighter lit to 
carry two men if not more. Theirs was towing behind. 

Of tiiat Decoud had not been aware. Of course it was too dark 
to see, and it was only when Nostromo put his hand upon its 
painter fastened to a cleat in the stern diat he experienced a full 
measure of relief. The prospect of finding himself in the water and 
swimming, overwhelmed by ignorance and darkness, probably in a 
circle, till he sank from exhaustion, was revolting. The barren and 
cruel futility of such an end intimidated his affectation of careless 
pessimism. In comparison to it, die chance of being left floating in 
a boat exposed to tiiirst, hunger, discovery, imprisonment, 
execution, presented itself with an aspect of amenity wordi 
securing even at die cost of some self-contempt. He did not accept 
Nostromo's proposal diat he should get into the boat at once. 
"Something sudden may overwhelm us, senor," die capataz 
remarked, promising faidifully at the same time to let go the 
painter at die moment when die necessity became manifest. 

But Decoud assured him lighdy diat he did not mean to take 
to die boat till die very last moment, and diat dien he meant the 
capataz to come along, too. The darkness of die gulf was no longer 
for him the end of all tilings. It was part of a living world, since, 
pervading it, failure and deadi could be felt at your elbow. And at 
die same time it was a shelter. He exulted in its impenetrable 
obscurity. "Like a wall— like a wall," he muttered to himself. 

The only tiling which checked his confidence was die diought 
of Senor Hirsch. Not to have bound and gagged him seemed to 
Decoud now die height of improvident folly. As long as die 
miserable creature had die power to raise a yell, he was a constant 
danger. His abject terror was mute now, but diere was no saying 
from what cause it might suddenly find vent in shrieks. 

This very madness of fear which bodi Decoud and Nostromo 
had seen in die wild and irrational glances, and in die continuous 
twitchings of his moudi, protected Seiior Hirsch from die cruel 
necessities of diis desperate affair. The moment of silencing him 
forever had passed. As Nostromo remarked in answer to 
Decoud's regrets, it was too late! It could not be done widiout 
noise, especially in die ignorance of die man's exact position. 
Wherever he had elected to crouch and tremble, it was too 
hazardous to go near him. He would begin, probably, to yell for 
mercy. It was much better to leave him quite alone, since he was 
keeping so still. But to trust to his silence became every moment a 



greater strain upon Decoud's composure. 

"I wish, capataz, you had not let the right moment pass," he 
murmured. 

"What? To silence him forever! I thought it good to hear first 
how he came to he here. It was too strange. Who could imagine 
that it was all an accident. Afterwards, sehor, when I saw you giving 
him water to drink I could not do it. Not after I had seen you 
holding up the can to his lips, as though he were your brother. 
Sehor, that sort of necessity must not he thought of too long. And 
yet it would have heen no cruelty to take away from him his 
wretched life. It is nothing hut fear Your compassion saved him 
then, Don Martin, and now it is too late. It couldn't he done 
without noise." 

In the steamer they were keeping a perfect silence, and the 
stillness was so profound that Decoud felt as if the slightest sound 
conceivable must travel unchecked and audible to the end of the 
world. What if Hirsch coughed or sneezed. To feel himself at the 
mercy of such an idiotic contingency was too exasperating to be 
looked upon with irony. Nostromo, too, seemed to he getting 
restless. Was it possihle, he asked himself, that the steamer, 
finding the night too dark altogether, intended to remain stopped 
where she was till daylight? He began to think that this, after all, 
was the real danger. He was afraid that the darkness which was his 
protection would in the end cause his undoing. 

Sotillo, as Nostromo had surmised, was in command on board 
the transport. The events of the last forty-eight hours in Sulaco 
were not known to him; neither was he aware that the telegraphist 
in Esmeralda had managed to warn his colleague in Sulaco. Like a 
good many officers of the troops garrisoning the province, Sotillo 
had heen influenced in his adoption of the Ribierist cause by the 
belief that it had the enormous wealth of the Gould Concession on 
its side. He had been one of the frequenters of the Casa Gould, 
where he had aired his Blanco convictions and his ardor for 
reform before Don Jose Avellanos, casting frank, honest glances 
towards Mrs. Gould and Antonia the while. He was known to 
belong to a good family, persecuted and impoverished during the 
tyranny of Guzman Bento. The opinions he expressed appeared 
eminently natural and proper in a man of his parentage and 
antecedents. And he was not a deceiver; it was perfectly natural for 
him to express elevated sentiments while his whole faculties were 
taken up with what seemed then a solid and practical notion— the 
notion that the husband of Antonia Avellanos would he naturally 
the intimate friend of the Gould Concession. He even pointed this 
out to Anzani once when negotiating the sixth or seventh small 
loan in the gloomy, damp apartment, with enormous iron bars, 
behind the principal shop in the whole row under the arcades. He 
hinted to the universal shopkeeper at the excellent terms he was 



on with die emancipated senorita, who was like a sister to the 
Englishwoman. He would advance one leg and put his arms 
akimbo, posing for Anzani's inspection and fixing him widi a 
haughty stare. 

"Look, miserable shopkeeper! How can a man like me fail 
widi any woman, let alone an emancipated girl living in scandalous 
freedom?" he seemed to say. 

His manner in the Casa Gould was, of course, very different, 
devoid of all truculence and even slighdy mournful. Like most of 
his countrymen, he was carried away by die sound of fine words, 
especially if uttered by himself. He had no convictions of any sort 
upon anything except as to die irresistible power of his personal 
advantages. But diat was so firm diat even Decoud's appearance in 
Sulaco and his intimacy with die Goulds and die Avellanos, did 
not disquiet him. On die contrary, he tried to make friends widi 
that rich Costaguanero from Europe in the hope of borrowing a 
large sum by and by. The only guiding motive of his life was to get 
money for die satisfaction of his expensive tastes, which he 
indulged recklessly, having no self-control. He imagined himself a 
master of intrigue, but his corruption was as simple as an animal 
instinct. At times, in solitude, he had his moments of ferocity, and 
also on such occasions as, for instance, when alone in a room widi 
Anzani trying to get a loan. 

He had talked himself into die command of the Esmeralda 
garrison. That small seaport had its importance as die station of 
die main submarine cable connecting die Occidental provinces 
widi die outer world, and die junction with it of die Sulaco branch. 
Don Jose Avellanos proposed him, and Barrios, widi a rude and 
jeering guffaw, had said, "Oh, let Sotillo go. He is a very good man 
to keep guard over die cable, and die ladies of Esmeralda ought to 
have their turn." Barrios, an indubitably brave man, had no great 
opinion of Sotillo. 

It was through die Esmeralda cable alone diat die San Tome 
mine could be kept in constant touch widi die great financier, 
whose tacit approval made die strengdi of die Ribierist movement. 
This movement had its adversaries even die re. Sotillo governed 
Esmeralda widi repressive severity till die adverse course of events 
upon die distant dieatre of civil war forced upon him die reflection 
diat, after all, die great silver mine was fated to become die spoil of 
die victors. But caution was necessary. He began by assuming a 
dark and mysterious attitude towards die faithful Ribierist 
municipality of Esmeralda. Later on, die information diat the 
comandante was holding assemblies of officers in die dead of night 
(which had leaked out somehow^) caused diose gendemen to 
neglect their civil duties altogedier and remain shut up in dieir 
houses. Suddenly, one day, all die letters from Sulaco by die 
overland courier were carried off by a file of soldiers from die post 



office to die comandancia. without disguise, concealment, or 
apology. Sotillo had heard dirough Cayta of die final defeat of 
Ribiera. 

This was die first open sign of die change in his convictions. 
Presendy notorious democrats, who had been living till dien in 
constant fear of arrest, leg irons, and even floggings, could be 
observed going in and out at die great door of die comandancia, 
where die horses of die orderlies doze under dieir heavy saddles, 
while die men, in ragged uniforms and pointed straw hats, lounge 
on a bench widi dieir naked feet stuck out beyond die strip of 
shade, and a sentry in a red baize coat, widi holes at die elbows, 
stands at the top of die steps glaring haughtily at die common 
people, who uncover dieir heads to him as diey pass. 

Sotillo' s ideas did not soar above the care for his personal 
safety and die chance of plundering die town in his charge, but he 
feared diat such a late adhesion would earn but scant gratitude 
from die victors. He had believed just a little too long in die power 
of die San Tome mine. The seized correspondence had 
confirmed his previous information of a large amount of silver 
ingots lying in die Sulaco custom house. To gain possession of it 
would be a clear Monterist move; a sort of service diat would have 
to be rewarded. Widi die silver in his hands he could make terms 
for himself and his soldiers. He was aware neidier of die riots nor 
of die President's escape to Sulaco, and die close pursuit led by 
Montero's brodier, die guerrillero. The game seemed in his own 
hands. The initial moves were die seizure of die cable telegraph 
office and die securing of the government steamer lying in the 
narrow creek which is die harbor of Esmeralda. The first was 
effected without difficulty by a company of soldiers swarming widi 
a rush over die gangways as she lay alongside the quay; but the 
lieutenant charged widi die duty of arresting die telegraphist halted 
on die way before die only cafe in Esmeralda, where he distributed 
some brandy to his men and refreshed himself at die expense of 
die owner, a known Ribierist. The whole party became 
intoxicated, and proceeded on dieir mission up the street yelling 
and firing random shots at die windows. This little festivity, which 
might have turned out dangerous to die telegraphist's life, enabled 
him in the end to send his warning to Sulaco. The lieutenant, 
staggering upstairs with a drawn sabre, was, before long, kissing 
him on botii cheeks in one of those swift changes of mood 
peculiar to a state of drunkenness. He clasped the telegraphist 
close round die neck, assuring him diat all die officers of die 
Esmeralda garrison were going to be made colonels, while tears of 
happiness streamed down his sodden face. Thus it came about 
diat die town major, coming along later, found die whole party 
sleeping on the stairs and in passages, and die telegraphist (who 
scorned diis chance of escape) very busy clicking die key of die 



transmitter. He led him away bareheaded, with his hands tied 
behind his back, but concealed the trudi from Sotillo, who 
remained in ignorance of die warning despatched to Sulaco. 

The colonel was not dre man to let any sort of darkness stand 
in the way of the planned surprise. It appeared to him a dead 
certainty; his heart was set upon his object widi an ungovernable, 
childlike impatience. Ever since die steamer had rounded Punta 
Mala, to enter die deeper shadow of die gulf, he had remained on 
the bridge in a group of officers as excited as himself. Distracted 
between die coaxings and menaces of Sotillo and his staff, die 
miserable commander of die steamer kept her moving with as 
much prudence as they would let him exercise. Some of them had 
been drinking heavily, no doubt, but die prospect of laying hands 
on so much wealth made them absurdly foolhardy, and, at the 
same time, extremely anxious. The old major of die battalion, a 
stupid, suspicious man, who had never been afloat in his life, 
distinguished himself by putting out suddenly die binnacle light, 
the only one allowed on board for die necessities of navigation. He 
could not understand of what use it could be for finding die way. 
To the vehement protestations of die ship's captain, he stamped 
his foot and tapped the handle of his sword. "Alia! I have 
unmasked you," he cried, triumphantly. "You are tearing your hair 
from despair at my acuteness. Am I a child to believe that a light in 
that brass box can show you where die harbor is? I am an old 
soldier, I am. I can smell a traitor a league off. You wanted that 
gleam to betray our approach to your friend die Englishman. A 
tiling like that show you die way! What a miserable lie! Que 
picardia! You Sulaco people are all in die pay of those foreigners. 
You deserve to be run dirough die body with my sword." Odier 
officers, crowding round, tried to calm his indignation, repeating 
persuasively: "No, no! This is an appliance of die mariners, major. 
This is no treachery." The captain of die transport flung himself 
face downward on die bridge and refused to rise. "Put an end to 
me at once," he repeated, in a stifled voice. Sotillo had to interfere. 

The uproar and confusion on die bridge became so great diat 
die helmsman fled from die wheel. He took refuge in die engine 
room and alarmed die engineers, who, disregarding die direats of 
die soldiers set on guard over diem, stopped die engines, 
protesting diat diey would radier be shot dian run die risk of being 
drowned down below. 

This was the first time Nostromo and Decoud heard die 
steamer stop. After order had been restored and die binnacle lamp 
relighted she went ahead again, passing wide of the lighter in her 
search for die Isabels. The group could not be made out, and, at 
the pitiful entreaties of die captain, Sotillo allowed die engines to 
be stopped again, to wait for one of diose periodical lightenings of 
darkness caused by die shifting of the cloud canopy spread above 



die waters of die gulf. 

Sotillo, on die bridge, muttered from time to time angrily to 
die captain. The odier, in an apologetic and cringing tone, begged 
su merced die colonel to take into consideration die limitations 
put upon human faculties by the darkness of die night. Sotillo 
swelled with rage and impatience. It was die chance of a lifetime. 

"If your eyes are of no more use to you than diis I shall have 
diem put out," he burst out. The captain of die steamer made no 
answer, for just dien die mass of die Great Isabel loomed up 
darkly after a passing shower, dien vanished, as if swept away by a 
wave of greater obscurity preceding anodier downpour. 

This was enough for him. In die voice of a man come back to 
life again, he informed Sotillo diat in an hour he would be 
alongside die Sulaco wharf. The ship was dien put full speed on 
die course, and a great bustie of preparation for landing arose 
among die soldiers on her deck. 

It was heard distinctly by Decoud and Nostromo. The capataz 
understood its meaning. They had made out die Isabels, and were 
going on now in a straight line for Sulaco. He judged diat they 
would pass close, but believed diat, lying still like diis widi the sail 
lowered, die lighter could not be seen. "No, not even if diey 
rubbed sides widi us" he muttered. 

The rain began to fall again; first like a wet mist, dien widi a 
heavier touch, diickening into a smart perpendicular downpour; 
and die hiss and diump of die approaching steamer was coming 
extremely near. Decoud, widi his eyes full of water and lowered 
head, asked himself how long it would be before she drew past, 
when unexpectedly he felt a lurch. An inrush of foam broke 
swishing over die stern, simultaneously widi a crack of timbers and 
a staggering shock. He had die impression of an angry hand laying 
hold of die lighter and dragging it along to destruction. The shock, 
of course, had knocked him down, and he found himself rolling in 
a lot of water at die bottom of die lighter. A violent churning went 
on alongside, a strange and amazed voice cried out something 
above him in die night. He heard a piercing shriek for help from 
Seiior Hirsch. He kept his teeth hard set all the time. It was a 
collision. 

The steamer had struck die lighter obliquely, heeling her over 
till she was half swamped, starting some of her timbers, and 
swinging her head parallel to her own course widi die force of the 
blow. The shock of it on board of her was hardly perceptible. All 
the violence of diat collision was, as usual, felt only on board die 
smaller craft. Even Nostromo himself diought diat diis was 
perhaps die end of his desperate adventure. He, too, had been 
dung away from die long tiller, which took charge in die lurch. 
Next moment die steamer would have passed on, leaving die 
lighter to sink or swim after having shouldered her dius out of her 



way, and without even getting a glimpse of her form, had it not 
heen that, heing deeply laden with stores and the great numher of 
people on board, her anchor was low enough to hook itself into 
one of the wire shrouds of die lighter's mast. For die space of two 
or diree gasping breadis diat new rope held against die sudden 
strain. It was diis diat gave Decoud die sensation of die snatching 
pull, dragging the lighter away to destruction. The cause of it, of 
course, was inexplicable to him. The whole tiling was so sudden 
that he had no time to think. But all his sensations were perfectly 
clear: he had kept complete possession of himself; in fact, he was 
even pleasandy aware of that calmness at the very moment of 
being' pitched headfirst over die transom to struggle on his back in 
a lot of water. Sefior Hirsch's shriek he had heard and recognized 
while he was regaining his feet, always with that mysterious 
sensation of being dragged headlong through the darkness. Not a 
word, not a cry, escaped him; he had no time to see anything; and 
following upon die despairing screams for help, die dragging 
motion ceased so suddenly that he staggered forward with open 
arms and fell against die pile of die treasure boxes. He clung to 
them instinctively, in the vague apprehension of being flung about 
again; and immediately he heard another lot of shrieks for help, 
prolonged and despairing, not near him at all, but unaccountably 
in die distance, away from die lighter altogether, as if some spirit in 
the night were mocking at Senor Hirsch's terror and despair. 

Then all was still, as still as when you wake up in your bed in a 
dark room from a bizarre and agitated dream. The lighter rocked 
slightly; die rain was still falling. Two groping hands took hold of 
his bruised sides from behind, and die capataz's voice whispered 
in his ear, "Silence for your life! Silence! The steamer has 
stopped." 

Decoud listened. The gulf was dumb. He felt die water nearly 
up to his knees. "Are we sinking?" he asked, in a faint breadi. 

"I don't know," Nostromo breathed back at him. "Senor, 
make not die slightest sound." 

Hirsch, when ordered forward by Nostromo, had not returned 
into his first hiding place. He had fallen near die mast and had no 
strength to rise. Moreover, he feared to move. He had given 
himself up for dead, but not on any rational grounds. It was simply 
a cruel and terrifying feeling. Whenever he tried to think what 
would become of him his teedi would start chattering violendy. He 
was too absorbed in die utter misery of his fear to take notice of 
anything. 

Though he was stifling under die lighter's sail, which Nostromo 
had unwittingly lowered on top of him, he did not even dare to put 
out his head till the very moment of the steamer striking. Then, 
indeed, he leaped right out, spurred on to new miracles of bodily 
vigor by this new shape of danger. The inrush of water when die 



lighter heeled over unsealed his lips. His shriek, "Save me!" was 
die first distinct warning of die collision for the people on hoard 
die steamer. Next moment die wire shroud parted, and die 
released anchor swept over die lighter's forecasde. It came against 
the hreast of Seiior Hirsch, who simply seized hold of it widiout in 
die least knowing what it was, but curling his arms and legs upon 
die part above die duke widi an invincible, unreasonable tenacity. 
The lighter yawed off wide, and die steamer moving on carried 
him away, clinging hard and shouting for help. It was some time, 
however, after die steamer had stopped diat his position was 
discovered. His sustained yelping for help seemed to come from 
somebody swimming in die water. At last a couple of men went 
over die bows and hauled him on board. He was carried sUaight 
off to Sotillo on die bridge. His examination confirmed the 
impression diat some craft had been run over and sunk; but it was 
impracticable on such a dark night to look for die positive proof of 
floating wreckage. Sotillo was more anxious than ever now to enter 
die harbor widiout loss of time; die idea diat he had destroyed die 
principal object of his expedition was too intolerable to be 
accepted. This feeling made die story he had heard appear die 
more incredible. Seiior Hirsch, after being beaten a littie for telling 
lies, was dirust into die chartroom. But he was beaten only a littie. 
His tale had taken die heart out of Sotillo's staff, diough diey all 
repeated round dieir chief, "Impossible! impossible!" with the 
exception of die old major, who triumphed gloomily. "I told you, I 
told you," he mumbled, "I could smell some treachery, some 
diablerie, a league off." 

Meantime, the steamer had kept on her way towards Sulaco, 
where only die Uudi of that matter could be ascertained. Decoud 
and NosUomo heard die loud churning of her propeller diminish 
and die out; and dien, with no useless words, busied diemselves in 
making for die Isabels. The last shower had brought with it a 
gentie but steady breeze. The danger was not over yet, and diere 
was no time for talk. The lighter was leaking like a sieve. They 
splashed in die water at every step. The capataz put into Decoud' s 
hands die handle of die pump, which was fitted at die side aft, and 
at once, widiout question or remark, Decoud began to pump, in 
utter forgetiulness of every desire but diat of keeping die Ueasure 
afloat. Nostromo hoisted die sail, dew back to die tiller, pulled at 
die sheet like mad. The short dare of a match (diey had been kept 
dry in a tight tin box, diough die man himself was completely 
wet)— die vivid flare of a match disclosed to die toiling Decoud die 
eagerness of his face, bent low over die box of the compass, and 
the attentive stare of his eyes. He knew now where he was, and he 
hoped to run die sinking lighter ashore in die shallow cove, where 
the high, cliffdike end of die great Isabel is divided in two equal 
parts by a deep and overgrown ravine. 



Decoud pumped widiout intermission. Nostromo steered 
widiout relaxing for a second die intense, peering effort of his 
stare. Each of them was as if utterly alone with his task. It did not 
occur to diem to speak. There was nodiing in common between 
diem but die knowledge diat die damaged lighter must be slowly 
but surely sinking. In diat knowledge, which was like die crucial 
test of dieir desires, diey seemed to have become completely 
estranged, as if diey had discovered in the very shock of die 
collision diat the loss of die lighter would not mean die same diing 
to them both. This common danger brought dieir differences in 
aim, in view, in character, and in position into absolute 
prominence in die private vision of each. There was no bond of 
conviction, of common idea; diey were merely two adventurers 
pursuing each his own adventure, involved in die same imminence 
of deadly peril. Therefore diey had nothing to say to each odier. 
But diis peril, diis only incontrovertible trudi in which diey shared, 
seemed to act as an inspiration to dieir mental and bodily powers. 

There was certainly something almost miraculous in die way 
die capataz made die cove, widi nodiing but the shadowy hint of 
the island's shape and die vague gleam of a small sandy strip for a 
guide. Where the ravine opens between die cliffs, and a slender, 
shallow rivulet meanders out of die bushes to lose itself in the sea, 
die lighter was run ashore; and die two men, with a taciturn, 
undaunted energy, began to discharge her precious freight, 
carrying each ox hide box up the bed of die rivulet, beyond die 
bushes, to a hollow place which the caving-in of the soil had made 
below die roots of a large tree. Its big, smoodi trunk leaned like a 
fallen column far over die trickle of water running among die loose 
stones. 

A couple of years before, Nostromo had spent a whole 
Sunday, all alone, exploring die island. He explained diis to 
Decoud after dieir task was done and diey sat, weary in every limb, 
with dieir legs hanging down die low bank and dieir backs against 
die tree, like a pair of blind men aware of each otiier and dieir 
surroundings by some indefinable sixdi sense. 

"Yes," Nostromo repeated, "I never forget a place I have 
carefully looked at once." He spoke slowly, almost lazily, as if 
diere had been a whole leisurely life before him instead of die 
scanty two hours before daylight. The existence of die treasure, 
barely concealed in diis improbable spot, laid a burden of secrecy 
upon every contemplated step, upon every intention and plan of 
future conduct. He felt die partial failure of this desperate affair, 
intrusted to the great reputation he had known how to make for 
himself. However, it was also a partial success. His vanity was half 
appeased. His nervous irritation had subsided. 

"You never know what may be of use," he pursued, with his 
usual quietness of tone and manner. "I spent a whole miserable 



Sunday in exploring this crumb of land." 

"A misandiropic sort of occupation," muttered Decoud, 
viciously. "You had no money, I suppose, to gamble with and to 
fling about among the girls in your usual haunts, capataz?" 

"£ vero!" exclaimed the capataz, surprised into the use of his 
native tongue by so much perspicacity. "I had not. Therefore I did 
not want to go among those beggarly people accustomed to my 
generosity. It is looked for from the capataz of the cargadores, who 
are die rich men, and, as it were, the caballeros among the 
common people. I don't care for cards but as a pastime; and as to 
those girls that boast of having opened their doors to my knock, 
you know I wouldn't look at any one of them twice except for what 
die people would say. They are queer, the good people of Sulaco, 
and I have got much useful information simply by listening 
patiently to die talk of women that everybody believed I was in 
love with. Poor Teresa could never understand that. On that 
particular Sunday, senor, she scolded so that I went out of the 
house swearing that I would never darken their door again, unless 
to fetch away my hammock and my chest of clothes. Sefior, there 
is nothing more exasperating than to hear a woman you respect rail 
against your good reputation when you have not a single brass coin 
in your pocket. I untied one of the small boats and pulled myself 
out of the harbor with nothing but three cigars in my pocket to 
help me spend die day on this island. But die water of this rivulet 
you hear under your feet is cool and sweet and good, senor, both 
before and after a smoke." He was silent for a while, then added, 
reflectively: "That was die first Sunday after I brought die white- 
whiskered English rico all die way down die mountains from die 
Paramo on die top of die Entrada Pass— and in die coach, too! No 
coach had gone up or down that mountain road within the 
memory of man, senor, till I brought this one down in charge of 
fifty peons working like one man with ropes, pickaxes, and poles, 
under my direction. That was die rich Englishman who, as people 
say, pays for die making of this railway. He was very pleased with 
me. But my wages were not due till die end of die month." 

He slid down die hank, suddenly. Decoud heard die splash of 
his feet in die brook, and followed his footsteps down die ravine. 
His form was lost among die bushes till he had reached die strip of 
sand under die cliff. As often happens in die gulf, when the 
showers during die first part of die night had been frequent and 
heavy, die darkness had thinned considerably towards die 
morning, though diere were no signs of daylight as yet. 

The cargo lighter, relieved of its precious burden, rocked 
feebly, half afloat, widi her forefoot on tire sand. A long rope 
stretched away like a black cotton diread across die strip of white 
beach to die grapnel Nostromo had carried ashore, and hooked to 
die stem of a treelike shrub in die very opening of die ravine. 



There was nothing for Decoud hut to remain on tire island. He 
received fronr Nostromo's hands whatever food the foresight of 
Captain Mitchell had put on hoard the lighter, and deposited it 
temporarily in the little dinghy which, on dreir arrival, drey had 
hauled up out of sight among dre hushes. It was to he left with him. 
The island was to he a hiding place, not a prison; he could pull out 
to a passing ship. The O.S.N. Company's mail hoats passed close 
to the islands when going into Sulaco fronr dre nordr. But the 
Minerva, carrying off dre ex-president, had taken dre news up 
nordr of dre disturbances in Sulaco. It was possible drat dre next 
steamer down would get instructions to nriss tire port altogether, 
since tire town, as far as tire Minerva 's officers knew, was for tire 
time heing in tire hands of tire rahhle. This would mean that there 
would he no steanrer for a month, as far as tire nrail service went; 
hut Decoud had to take Iris chance of that. The island was his only 
shelter from tire proscription hanging over his head. The capataz 
was, of course, going hack. The unloaded lighter leaked much less, 
and he drought that she would keep afloat as far as tire harhor. 

He passed to Decoud, standing knee-deep alongside, one of 
the two spades which helonged to tire equipment of each lighter, 
for use when hallasting ships. By working with it carefully, as soon 
as there was daylight enough to see, Decoud could loosen a nrass 
of earth and stones overhanging tire cavity in which they had 
deposited tire treasure, so that it would look as if it had fallen 
naturally. It would cover up not only tire cavity, hut even all traces 
of their work, tire footsteps, tire displaced stones, and even the 
hroken hushes. 

"Besides, who would think of looking either for you or the 
treasure here?" Nostronro continued, as if he could not tear 
himself away fronr tire spot. "Nohody is ever likely to conre here. 
What could airy man want with this piece of earth as long as there 
is roonr for his feet on the mainland? The people in this country 
are not curious. There are even no fishermen here to intrude 
upon your worship. All the fishing that is done in tire gulf goes on 
near Zapiga, over there. Sehor, if you are forced to leave this 
island hefore anything can he arranged for you, do not try to make 
for Zapiga. It is a settlement of thieves and nratreros, where they 
would cut your throat promptly for the sake of your gold watch 
and chain. And, sehor, think twice hefore confiding in any one 
whatever, even in the officers of tire company's steamers if you 
ever get on hoard one. Honesty alone is not enough for security. 
You nrust look to discretion and prudence in a man. And always 
renrenrher, sehor, hefore you open your lips for a confidence, that 
this treasure may he left safely here for hundreds of years. Time is 
on its side, sehor. And silver is an incorruptihle metal that can he 
trusted to keep its value forever. . . . An incorruptihle metal," he 
repeated, as if tire idea had given him a profound pleasure. 



"As some men are said to be," Decoud pronounced, 
inscrutably, while tire capataz, who busied himself in baling out die 
lighter widi a wooden bucket, went on throwing die water over the 
side widi a regular splash. Decoud, incorrigible in his scepticism, 
reflected, not cynically, but widi genuine satisfaction, that this man 
was made incorruptible by his enormous vanity, that finest form of 
egoism which can take on die aspect of every virtue. 

Nostromo ceased baling and, as if struck widi a sudden 
thought, dropped die bucket widi a clatter into die lighter. 

"Have you any message?" he asked, in a lowered voice. 
"Remember, I shall be asked questions." 

"You must find die hopeful words diat ought to be spoken to 
die people in town. I trust for that your intelligence and your 
experience, capataz. You understand?" 

"Si, senor. . . . For die ladies." 

"Yes, yes," said Decoud, hastily. "Your wonderful reputation 
will make them attach great value to your words; dierefore, be 
careful what you say. I am looking forward," he continued, feeling 
die fatal touch of contempt for himself to which his complex 
nature was subject— "I am looking forward to a glorious and 
successful ending to my mission. Do you hear, capataz? Use die 
words glorious and successful when you speak to die sefiorita. 
Your own mission is accomplished gloriously and successfully. 
You have indubitably saved die silver of die mine. Not only this 
silver, but probably all die silver diat shall ever come out of it." 

Nostromo detected die ironic tone. "I dare say, Sefior Don 
Martin," he said, moodily. "There are very few tilings diat I am not 
equal to. Ask die foreign signori. I, a man of die people, who 
cannot always understand what you mean. But as to this lot which I 
must leave here, let me tell you diat I w r ould believe it in greater 
safety if you had not been widi me at all." 

An exclamation escaped Decoud, and a short pause followed. 
"Shall I go back widi you to Sulaco?" he asked, in an angry tone. 

"Shall I strike you dead with my knife where you stand?" 
retorted Nostromo contemptuously. "It would be die same tiling 
as taking you to Sulaco. Come, senor! Your reputation is in your 
politics, and mine is bound up with die fate of this silver. Do you 
wonder I wish diere had been no otiier man to share my 
knowledge? I wanted no one widi me, senor." 

"You could not have kept die lighter afloat widiout me," 
Decoud almost shouted, "You would have gone to die bottom 
widi her." 

"Yes," muttered Nostromo, slowly. "Alone." 

Here was a man, Decoud reflected, diat seemed as diough he 
would have preferred to die radier dian deface die perfect form of 
his egoism. Such a man was safe. In silence he helped die capataz 
to get die grapnel on board. Nostromo cleared die shelving shore 



with one push of the heavy oar, and Decoud found himself solitary 
on the heach, like a man in a dream. A sudden desire to hear a 
human voice once more seized upon his heart. The lighter was 
hardly distinguishable from the black water upon which she 
floated. 

"What do you diink has become of Hirsch?" he shouted. 

"Knocked overboard and drowned," cried Nostromo's voice, 
confidently, out of die black wastes of sky and sea around die islet. 
"Keep close in die ravine, Senor. I shall try to come out to you in a 
night or two." 

A slight swishing rusde showed that Nostromo was setting die 
sail. It filled all at once with a sound as of a single loud drum tap. 
Decoud went back to the ravine. Nostromo, at die tiller, looked 
back from time to time at die vanishing mass of die Great Isabel, 
which, litde by little, merged into die uniform texture of die night. 
At last, when he turned his head again, he saw nodiing but a 
smootii darkness like a solid wall. 

Then he, too, experienced diat feeling of solitude which had 
weighed heavily on Decoud after die lighter had slipped off die 
shore. But while the man on die island was oppressed by a bizarre 
sense of unreality, affecting die very ground upon which he 
walked, die mind of die capataz of die cargadores turned alerdy to 
die problem of future conduct. Nostromo's faculties, working on 
parallel lines, enabled him to steer straight, to keep a lookout for 
Hermosa, near which he had to pass, and to try to imagine what 
would happen tomorrow in Sulaco. Tomorrow, or, as a matter of 
fact, today, since die dawn was not very far, Sotillo would find out 
in what way die treasure had gone. A gang of cargadores had been 
employed in loading it into a railway truck from die custom house 
storerooms and running die truck onto die wharf. There would be 
arrests made, and certainly before noon Sotillo would know in 
what manner die silver had left Sulaco and who it was that took it 
out. 

Nostromo's intention had been to sail right into die harbor, 
but at diis diought, by a sudden touch of die tiller, he direw the 
lighter into die wind and checked her rapid way. His reappearance 
with the very boat would raise suspicions, would cause surmises, 
would absolutely put Sotillo on the track. He himself would be 
arrested; and, once in die calabozo, diere was no saying what diey 
would do to him to make him speak. He trusted himself, but he 
stood up to look around. Near by Hermosa showed low, its white 
surface as flat as a table, with die slight run of die sea raised by die 
breeze washing over its edges noisily. The lighter must be sunk at 
once. 

He allowed her to drift with her sail aback. There was already 
a good deal of water in her. He allowed her to drift towards the 
harbor entrance, and, letting die tiller swing about, squatted down 



and busied himself in loosening die plug. With diat out she would 
fill very quickly, and every lighter carried a little iron ballast- 
enough to make her go down when full of water. When he stood 
up again, die noisy wash about die Hermosa sounded far away, 
almost inaudible; and already he could make out the shape of land 
about die harbor entrance. This was a desperate affair, and he was 
a good swimmer. A mile was nothing to him, and he knew of an 
easy place for landing just below die eardiworks of die old 
abandoned fort. It occurred to him widi a peculiar fascination diat 
diis fort was a good place in which to sleep the day dirough after so 
many sleepless nights. 

Widi one blow of die tiller he unshipped for die purpose he 
knocked die plug out, but did not take die trouble to lower the 
sail. He felt die water welling up heavily about his legs before he 
leaped onto die taffrail. There, upright and motionless, in his shirt 
and trousers only, he stood waiting. When he felt her settle, he 
sprang far away widi a mighty plash. 

At once he turned his head. The gloomy, clouded dawn from 
behind the mountains showed him on die smoodi waters the 
upper comer of die sail, a dark, wet triangle of canvas waving 
slightiy to and fro. He saw it vanish, as if jerked under, and tiien 
struck out for die shore. 



PART III-The Light House 
I 

DIRECTLY die cargo boat had slipped away from die wharf and 
got lost in die darkness of die harbor, die Europeans of Sulaco 
separated, to prepare for die coming of the Monterist regime, 
which was approaching Sulaco from die mountains as well as from 
the sea. 

This bit of manual work in loading the silver was dieir last 
concerted action. It ended die diree days of danger, during which, 
according to the newspaper press of Europe, dieir energy had 
preserved die town from the calamities of popular disorder. At die 
shore end of die jetty Captain Mitchell said goodnight and turned 
back. His intention was to walk die planks of die wharf till die 
steamer from Esmeralda turned up. The engineers of die railway 
staff, collecting dieir Basque and Italian workmen, marched diem 
away to die railway yards, leaving die custom house, so well 
defended on die first day of die riot, standing open to die four 
winds of heaven. Their men had conducted themselves bravely 
and faitiifully during die famous "diree days" of Sulaco. In a great 
part diis faithfulness and diat courage had been exercised in self- 
defence ratiier dian in the cause of diose material interests to 
which Charles Gould had pinned his faith. Among die cries of die 
mob, not die least loud had been die cry of "Deadi to foreigners!" 
It was, indeed, a lucky circumstance for Sulaco diat die relations of 
diose imported workmen widi die people of die country had been 
uniformly bad from the first. 

Dr. Monygham, going to die door of Viola's kitchen, observed 
diis retreat marking die end of the foreign interference, this 
withdrawal of die army of material progress from die field of 
Costaguana revolutions. 

Algarroba torches, carried on die outskirts of die moving body, 
sent dieir penetrating aroma into his nostrils. Their light, sweeping 
along die front of die house, made die letters of die inscription, 
"Albergo d'ltalia Una," leap out black from end to end of die long 
wall. His eyes blinked in die clear blaze. Several young men, 
mostiy fair and tall, shepherding diis mob of dark bronzed heads 
surmounted by die glint of slanting rifle barrels, nodded to him 
familiarly as diey went by. The doctor was a well known character. 
Some of diem wondered what he was doing diere. Then, on die 
flank of dieir workmen, diey tramped on, following die line of 
rails. 

"Wididrawing your people from die harbor?" said die doctor, 
addressing himself to die chief engineer of die railway, who had 
accompanied Charles Gould so far on his way to die town, walking 



by die side of die horse, with his hand on die saddlebow. The}' 
had stopped just outside die open door to let die workmen cross 
the road. 

"As quick as I can. We are not a political faction," answered 
die engineer, meaningly. "And we are not going to give our new 
rulers a handle against die railway. You approve me, Gould?" 

"Absolutely," said Charles Gould's impassive voice, high up 
and outside die dim parallelogram of light falling on die road 
dirough die open door. 

Widi Sotillo expected from one side, and Pedro Montero 
from die odier, die engineer-in-chief s only anxiety now was to 
avoid a collision widi eidier. Sulaco, for him, was a railway station, 
a terminus, workshops, a great accumulation of stores. As against 
die mob die railway defended its property, but politically die 
railway was neutral. He was a brave man, and in diat spirit of 
neutrality he had carried proposals of truce to the self-appointed 
chiefs of die popular party, die deputies Fuentes and Gamacho. 
Bullets were still dying about when he had crossed die plaza on 
that mission, waving above his head a white napkin belonging to 
die table linen of die Amarilla Club. 

He was radier proud of diis exploit; and reflecting diat the 
doctor, busy all day widi die wounded in die patio of die Casa 
Gould, had not had time to hear the pews, he began a succinct 
narrative. He had communicated to diem die intelligence from die 
construction camp as to Pedro Montero. The brodier of die 
victorious general, he had assured diem, could be expected at 
Sulaco at any time now. This news (as he anticipated), when 
shouted out of the window by Sefior Gamacho, induced a rush of 
die mob along die Campo road towards Rincon. The two 
deputies, also, after shaking hands widi him effusively, mounted 
and galloped off to meet the great man. 

"I have misled diem a little as to die time," die chief engineer 
confessed. "However hard he rides, he can scarcely get here 
before die morning. But my object is attained. I've secured several 
hours' peace for die losing party. But I did not tell diem anything 
about Sotillo, for fear diey would take it into dieir heads to try to 
get hold of die harbor again, eidier to oppose him or welcome 
him— diere's no saying which. There was Gould's silver, on which 
rests die remnant of our hopes. Decoud's retreat had to be 
diought of, too. I diink die railway has done pretty well by its 
friends widiout compromising itself hopelessly. Now die parties 
must be left to diemselves." 

"Costaguana for the Costaguaneros," interjected die doctor, 
sardonically. "It is a fine country, and diey have raised a fine crop 
of hates, vengeance, murder, and rapine— diose sons of die 
country." 

"Well, I am one of diem," Charles Gould's voice sounded, 



calmly, "and I must be going on to see to my own crop of trouble. 
My wife has driven straight on doctor?" 

"Yes. All was quiet on this side. Mrs. Gould has taken the two 
girls with her." 

Charles Gould rode on and die engineer-in-chief followed die 
doctor indoors. 

"That man is calmness personified," he said, appreciatively, 
dropping on a bench and stretching his well-shaped legs, in cycling 
stockings, nearly across die doorway. "He must be extremely sure 
of himself." 

"If diat's all he is sure of, dien he is sure of nothing," said die 
doctor. He had perched himself again on die end of die table. He 
nursed his cheek in the palm of one hand, while die other 
sustained die elbow. "It is die last diing a man ought to be sure of." 
The candle, half consumed and burning dimly widi a long wick, 
lighted up from below his inclined face, whose expression, affected 
by the drawn-in cicatrices in the cheeks, had somediing vaguely 
unnatural, an exaggerated remorseful bitterness. As he sat diere he 
had the air of meditating upon sinister diings. The engineer-in- 
chief gazed at him for a time before he protested. 

"I really don't see that. For me diere seems to be nothing else. 
However—" 

He was a wise man, but he could not quite conceal his 
contempt for diat sort of paradox; in fact, Dr. Monygham was not 
liked by die Europeans of Sulaco. His outward aspect of an 
outcast, which he preserved even in Mrs. Gould's drawing room, 
provoked unfavorable criticism. There could be no doubt of his 
intelligence; and, as he had lived for over twenty years in the 
country, die pessimism of his oudook could not be altogedier 
ignored. But, instinctively, in self-defence of dieir activities and 
hopes, his hearers put it to die account of some hidden 
imperfection in die man's character. It was known that many years 
before, when quite young, he had been made by Guzman Bento 
chief medical officer of die army. Not one of die Europeans dien 
in die service of Costaguana had been so much liked and trusted 
by die fierce old dictator. 

Afterwards his story was not so clear. It lost itself among die 
innumerable tales of conspiracies and plots against die tyrant, as a 
stream is lost in an arid belt of sandy country before it emerges, 
diminished and troubled, perhaps, on the other side. He made no 
secret of it diat he had lived for years in die wildest parts of die 
republic, wandering with almost unknown Indian tribes in die great 
forests of die far interior, wiiere die great rivers have dieir sources. 
But it was mere aimless wandering; he had written nodiing, 
collected nodiing, brought nodiing for science out of die twilight of 
die forests, which seemed to cling to his battered personality 
limping about Sulaco, where it had drifted in casually only to get 



stranded on die shores of die sea. 

It was also known diat he had lived in a state of destitution till 
the arrival of die Goulds from Europe. Don Carlos and Senora 
Emilia had taken up the mad English doctor when it hecame 
apparent diat for all his savage independence he could he tamed 
by kindness. Perhaps it was only hunger diat had tamed him. In 
years gone by he had certainly been acquainted widi Charles 
Gould's fadier, in Sta. Marta; and now, no matter what were the 
dark passages of his history, as die medical officer of die San 
Tome mine he became a recognized personality. He was 
recognized, but not unreservedly accepted. So much defiant 
eccentricity and such an outspoken scorn for mankind seemed to 
point to mere recklessness of judgment, die bravado of guilt. 
Besides, since he had become again of some account, vague 
whispers had been heard diat years ago, when fallen into disgrace 
and dirown into prison by Guzman Bento, at die time of die so- 
called Great Conspiracy, he had betrayed some of his best friends 
among die conspirators. Nobody pretended to believe diat 
whisper; die whole story of die Great Conspiracy was hopelessly 
involved and obscure; it is admitted in Costaguana diat diere never 
had been a conspiracy except in die diseased imagination of die 
tyrant, and, dierefore, nothing and no one to betray; though the 
most distinguished Costaguaneros had been imprisoned and 
executed upon diat accusation. The procedure had dragged on for 
years, decimating die better class like a pestilence. The mere 
expression of sorrow for die fate of executed kinsmen had been 
punished with deadi. Don Jose Avellanos was, perhaps, die only 
one living who knew die whole story of diose unspeakable 
cruelties. He had suffered from diem himself; and he, with a shrug 
of die shoulders and a nervous, jerky gesture of die arm, was wont 
to put away from him, as it were, every allusion to it. But whatever 
die reason. Dr. Monygham, a personage in die administration of 
the Gould Concession, treated with reverent awe by die miners 
and indulged in his peculiarities by Mrs. Gould, remained 
somehow outside die pale. 

It was not from any liking for die doctor diat die engineer-in- 
chief had lingered in the inn upon die plain. He liked old Viola 
much better. He had come to look upon die Albergo d'ltalia Una 
as a dependence of die railway. Many of his subordinates had dieir 
quarters diere. Mrs. Gould's interest in the family conferred upon 
it a sort of distinction. The engineer-in-chief, with an army of 
workers under his orders, appreciated die moral influence of die 
old Garibaldino upon his country men. His austere old world 
republicanism had a severe, soldier-like standard of faidifulness 
and duty, as if die world were a batdefield where men had to fight 
for die sake of universal love and brodierhood instead of a more 
or less large share of booty. 



"Poor old chap!" he said, after he had heard die doctor's 
account of Teresa. "He'll never he ahle to keep die place going hy 
himself. I shall he sorry." 

"He's quite alone up there," grunted Dr. Monyghani, widi a 
toss of his heavy head towards die narrow staircase. "Every living 
soul has cleared out, and Mrs. Gould took die girls away just now. 
It might not be oversafe for diem out here, before very long. Of 
course, as a doctor I can do nothing more here, but she has asked 
me to stay widi old Viola, and as I have no horse to get back to die 
mine, where I ought to be, I made no difficulty to stay. They can 
do widiout me in the town." 

"I have a good mind to remain widi you, doctor, till we see 
whether anything happens tonight at die harbor," declared die 
engineer-in-chief. "He must not be molested by Sotillo's soldiery, 
who may push on as far as diis at once. Sotillo used to be very 
cordial to me at die Goulds' and at die club. How diat man'll ever 
dare to look any of his friends here in the face I can't imagine." 

"He'll no doubt begin by shooting some of them, to get over 
the first awkwardness," said die doctor. "Nothing in diis country 
serves better your military man who has changed sides than a few 
summary executions." He spoke widi a gloomy positiveness that 
left no room for protest. The engineer-in-chief did not attempt 
any. He simply nodded several times, regretfully, then said: 

"I diink we shall be able to mount you in die morning, doctor 
Our peons have recovered some of our stampeded horses. By 
riding hard and taking a wide circuit by Los Matos and along die 
edge of die forest, clear of Rincon altogedier, you may hope to 
reach die San Tome bridge widiout being interfered widi. The 
mine is just now, to my mind, die safest place for anybody at all 
compromised. I only wish die railway was as difficult to touch." 

"Am I compromised?" Dr. Monyghani brought out slowly, 
after a short silence. 

"The whole Gould Concession is compromised. It could not 
have remained forever outside die political life of die country— if 
diose convulsions may be called life. The tiling is— can it be 
touched? The moment was bound to come wiien neutrality would 
become impossible, and Charles Gould understood diis well. I 
believe he is prepared for every extremity. A man of his sort has 
never contemplated remaining indefinitely at die mercy of 
ignorance and corruption. It was like being a prisoner in a cavern 
of banditti widi the price of your ransom in your pocket and 
buying your life from day to day. Your mere safety, not your 
liberty, mind, doctor. I know what I am talking about. The image 
at which you shrug your shoulders is perfectiy correct; especially if 
you conceive such a prisoner endowed widi die power of 
replenishing his pocket by means as remote from die faculties of 
his captors as if they were magic. You must have understood diat 



as well as I do, doctor. He was in die position of die goose witii the 
golden eggs. I broached diis matter to him as far back as Sir John's 
visit here. The prisoner of stupid and greedy banditti is always at 
the mercy of die first imbecile ruffian, who may blow out his brains 
in a fit of temper or for some prospect of an immediate big haul. 
The tale of killing die goose witii die golden eggs has not been 
evolved for nothing out of die wisdom of mankind. It is a story diat 
will never grow old. That is why Charles Gould in his deep, dumb 
way has countenanced die Ribierist mandate, die first public act 
diat promised him safety on odier than venal grounds. Ribierism 
has failed, as everything merely rational fails in diis country. But 
Gould remains logical in wishing to save diis big lot of silver. 
Decoud's plan of a counterrevolution may be practicable or not, it 
may have a chance or it may not have a chance. Witii all my 
experience of diis revolutionary continent I can hardly yet look at 
dieir methods seriously. Decoud has been reading to us his 
draught of a proclamation and talking very well for two hours 
about his plan of action. He had arguments which should have 
appeared solid enough if we, members of old, stable political and 
national organizations, were not startled by the mere idea of a new 
state evolved, like diis, out of die head of a scoffing young man 
fleeing for his life, with a proclamation in his pocket, to a rough, 
jeering, half-bred swashbuckler who in diis part of die world is 
called a general. It sounds like a comic fairytale— and, behold! it 
may come off, because it is true to die very spirit of die country." 

"Is die silver gone off, dien?" asked die doctor, moodily. 

The chief engineer pulled out his watch. 

"By Captain Mitchell's reckoning, and he ought to know, it has 
been gone long enough now to be some diree or four miles 
outside die harbor; and, as Mitchell says, Nostromo is die sort of 
seaman to make die best of his opportunities." 

Here die doctor grunted so heavily that the other changed his 
tone. 

"You have a poor opinion of diat move, doctor? But why? 
Charles Gould has got to play his game out, diough he is not die 
man to formulate his conduct even to himself, perhaps, let alone 
to others. It may be that die game has been pardy suggested to him 
by Holroyd; but it accords with his character, too, and diat is why it 
has been so successful. Haven't diey come to calling him 'El Rey 
de Sulaco' in Sta. Marta? A nickname may be die best record of a 
success. That's what I call putting die face of a joke upon die body 
of a trudi. My dear sir, when I first arrived in Sta. Marta I was 
struck by die way all diose journalists, demagogues, members of 
Congress, and all diose generals and judges cringed before a sleepy 
eyed advocate widiout practice, simply because he was die 
plenipotentiary of die Gould Concession. Sir John, when he came 
out, was impressed, too." 



"A new state, with that plump dandy, Decoud, for the first 
President," mused Dr. Monygham, nursing his cheek and swinging 
his legs all the time. 

"Upon my word, and why not?" the chief engineer retorted, in 
an unexpectedly earnest and confidential voice. It was as if 
something suhtle in the air of Costaguana had inoculated him with 
the local faith in "pronunciamientos." All at once he began to talk 
like an expert revolutionist of the instrument ready to hand in the 
intact army at Cayta, which could be brought back in a few days to 
Sulaco, if only Decoud managed to make his way at once down the 
coast. For the military chief there was Barrios, who had nothing 
but a bullet to expect from Montero, his former professional rival 
and bitter enemy. Barrios's concurrence was assured. As to his 
army, it had nothing to expect from Montero either; not even a 
month's pay. From that point of view the existence of the treasure 
was of enormous importance. The mere knowledge that it had 
been saved from the Monterists would be a strong inducement for 
die Cayta troops to embrace the cause of the new state. 

The doctor turned round and contemplated his companion for 
some time. 

"This Decoud, I see, is a persuasive young beggar," he 
remarked at last. "And, pray, is it for this, then, that Charles Gould 
has let the whole lot of ingots go out to sea in charge of that 
Nostromo?" 

"Charles Gould," said the engineer-in-chief, "has said no more 
about his motive than usual. You know he doesn't talk. But we all 
here know his motive, and he has only one— the safety of the San 
Tome mine with the preservation of the Gould Concession in the 
spirit of his compact with Holroyd. Holroyd is another uncommon 
man. They understand each other's imaginative side. One is thirty, 
the other nearly sixty, and they have been made for each other. To 
be a millionaire, and such a millionaire as Holroyd, is like being 
eternally young. The audacity of youth reckons upon what it 
fancies an unlimited time at its disposal; but a millionaire has 
unlimited means in his hand— which is better. One's time on earth 
is an uncertain quantity, but about the long reach of millions there 
is no doubt. The introduction of a pure form of Christianity into 
this continent is a dream for a youthful enthusiast, and I have been 
trying to explain to you why Holroyd at fifty-eight is like a man on 
the threshold of life, and better, too. He's not a missionary, but the 
San Tome mine holds just that for him. I assure you, in sober 
truth, that he could not manage to keep this out of a strictly 
business conference upon the finances of Costaguana he had with 
Sir John a couple of years ago. Sir John mentioned it with 
amazement in a letter he wrote to me here from San Francisco, 
when on his way home. Upon my word, doctor, tilings seem to be 
worth nothing by what they are in themselves. I begin to believe 



that the only solid tiling about them is the spiritual value which 
every one discovers in his own form of activity." 

"Bali!" interrupted the doctor, without stopping for an instant 
the idle swinging movement of his legs. "Self-flattery. Food for that 
vanity which makes the world go round. Meantime, what do you 
think is going to happen to the treasure floating about the gulf with 
the great capataz and the great politician?" 

"Why are you uneasy about it, doctor?" 

"I uneasy! And what the devil is it to me? I put no spiritual 
value into my desires, or my opinions, or my actions. They have 
not enough vastness to give me room for self-flattery. Look, for 
instance; I should certainly have liked to ease the last moments of 
that poor woman, and I can't. It's impossible. Have you met the 
impossible face to face— or have you, the Napoleon of railways, no 
such word in your dictionary?" 

"Is she bound to have a very bad time of it?" asked the chief 
engineer, with humane concern. 

Slow, heavy footsteps moved across the planks above the 
heavy, hardwood beams of the kitchen. Then down the narrow 
opening of the staircase made in the thickness of the wall, and 
narrow enough to be defended by one man against twenty, 
enemies, came the murmur of two voices, one faint and broken, 
the other deep and gentle answering it, and in its graver tone 
covering the weaker sound. 

The two men remained still and silent till the murmurs ceased; 
then the doctor shrugged his shoulders and muttered: 

"Yes, she's bound to. And I could do nothing if I went up 
now." 

A long period of silence above and below ensued. 

"I fancy," began the engineer, in a subdued voice, "that you 
mistrust Captain Mitchell's capataz." 

"Mistrust him," muttered the doctor, through his teeth. "I 
believe him capable of anything; even of the most absurd fidelity. I 
am the last person he spoke to before he left the wharf, you know. 
The poor woman up there wanted to see him and I let him go up 
to her. The dying must not be contradicted, you know. She 
seemed then fairly calm and resigned, but the scoundrel in those 
ten minutes or so has done or said something which seems to have 
driven her into despair. You know," went on the doctor, 
hesitatingly, "women are so very unaccountable, in every position 
and at all times of life, that I thought sometimes she was, in a way, 
don't you see? in love with him— the capataz. The rascal has his 
own charm indubitably, or he would not have made the conquest 
of all die populace of the town. No, no; I am not absurd. I may 
have given a wrong name to some strong sentiment for him on her 
part— to an unreasonable and simple attitude a woman is apt to 
take up emotionally towards a man. She used to abuse him to me 



frequently, which, of course, is not inconsistent with my idea. Not 
at all. It looked to me as if she were always thinking of him. He 
was something important in her life. You know I have seen a lot of 
those people. Whenever I came down from the mine Mrs. Gould 
used to ask me to keep my eye on diem. She likes Italians; she has 
lived a long time in Italy, I believe, and she took a special fancy to 
that old Garibaldino. A remarkable chap enough. A rugged and 
dreamy character living in the republicanism of his young days as if 
in a cloud. He has encouraged much of the capataz's confounded 
nonsense— the high-strung, exalted old beggar." 

"What sort of nonsense?" wondered the chief engineer. "I 
found tire capataz always a very shrewd and sensible fellow, 
absolutely fearless, and remarkably useful. A perfect handy man. 
Sir John was greatly impressed by his resourcefulness and attention 
when he made that overland journey from Sta. Marta. Later on, as 
you might have heard, he rendered us a sendee by disclosing to the 
then chief of police the presence in the town of some professional 
thieves who came from a distance to wreck and rob our monthly 
pay train. He has certainly organized the lighterage sendee of the 
harbor for the O.S.N. Company with great ability. He knows how 
to make himself obeyed, foreigner though he is. It is true that the 
cargadores are strangers here, too, for the most part— immigrants, 
Islefios." 

"His prestige is his fortune," muttered the doctor, sourly. 

"The man has proved his trustworthiness up to the hilt on 
innumerable occasions and in all sorts of ways," argued the 
engineer. "When this question of the silver arose, Captain Mitchell 
naturally was very warmly of the opinion that his capataz was the 
only man fit for the trust. As a sailor, of course, I suppose so. But 
as a man, don't you know, Gould, Decoud, and myself judged that 
it didn't matter in the least who went. Any boatman would have 
done just as well. Pray, what could a thief do with such a lot of 
ingots? If he ran off with them he would have in the end to land 
somewhere, and how could he conceal his cargo from the 
knowledge of the people ashore. We dismissed that consideration 
from our minds. Moreover, Decoud was going. There have been 
occasions when the capataz has been more implicitly trusted." 

"He took a slightly different view," the doctor said. "I heard 
him declare in this very room that it would be the most desperate 
affair of his life. He made a sort of verbal will here in my hearing, 
appointing old Viola his executor; and, by Jove! do you know, he- 
he's not grown rich by his fidelity to you good people of the 
railway and the harbor. I suppose he obtains some— how do you 
say that— some spiritual value for his labors, or else I don't know 
why the devil he should be faithful to you, Gould, Mitchell, or 
anybody else. He knows this country well. He knows, for instance, 
that Gamacho, the deputy from Javira, has been nothing else but a 



"tramposo" of the commonest sort, a petty peddler of the Campo, 
till he managed to get enough goods on credit from Anzani to 
open a little store in the wilds and get himself elected by the 
drunken mozos that hang about die Estancias and die poorest sort 
of rancheros, who were in his debt. And Gamacho, who tomorrow 
will be probably one of our high officials, is a stranger too, an 
Isleno. He might have been a cargador on the O.S.N, wharf had 
he not (the posadero of Rincon is ready to swear it) murdered a 
peddler in the woods and stolen his pack to begin life on. And do 
you diink diat Gamacho dien would have ever become a hero widi 
the democracy of diis place like our capataz? Of course not. He 
isn't half die man. No; decidedly, I diink diat Nostromo is a fool." 

The doctor's talk was distasteful to die builder of railways. "It is 
impossible to argue that point," he said, philosophically. "Each 
man has his gifts. You should have heard Gamacho haranguing his 
friends in die street. He has a howling voice and he shouted like 
mad, lifting his clinched fist right above his head and dirowing his 
body half out of the window. At every pause die rabble below 
yelled, "Down with die oligarchs! Viva la Libertad!" Fuentes, 
inside, looked extremely miserable. You know he is the brodier of 
Jorge Fuentes, who has been Minister of die Interior for six 
mondis or so some few years back. Of course, he has no 
conscience, but he's a man of birdi and education; at one time die 
director of die customs of Cayta. That idiot brute Gamacho 
fastened himself upon him with his following of the lowest rabble. 
His sickly fear of that ruffian was die most rejoicing sight 
imaginable." 

He got up and went to die door to look out towards the 
harbor. "All quiet," he said. "I wonder if Sotillo really means to 
turn up here?" 



II 



CAPTAIN MITCHELL, pacing die wharf, was asking himself die 
same question. There was always die doubt whether die warning of 
die Esmeralda telegraphist— a fragmentary and interrupted 
message— had been properly understood. However, the good man 
had made up his mind not to go to bed till daylight, if even then. 
He imagined himself to have rendered an enormous service to 
Charles Gould. When he thought of die saved silver he rubbed his 
hands together with satisfaction. In his simple way he was proud at 
being a party to this extremely clever expedient. It was he who had 
given it a practical shape by suggesting die possibility of 
intercepting at sea die northbound steamer. And it was 
advantageous to his company, too, which would have lost a 
valuable freight if die treasure had been left ashore to be 



confiscated. The pleasure of disappointing the Monterists was also 
very great. Authoritative hy temperament and the long hahit of 
command, Captain Mitchell was no democrat. He even went so far 
as to profess a contempt for parliamentarism itself. "His 
Excellency Don Vincente Rihiera," he used to say, "whom I and 
that fellow of mine, Nostromo, had the honor, sir, and the 
pleasure of saving from a cruel death, deferred too much to his 
Congress. It was a mistake— a distinct mistake, sir." 

The guileless old seaman superintending the O.S.N, service 
imagined that the last three days had exhausted every startling 
surprise the political life of Costaguana could offer. He used to 
confess afterwards that the events which followed surpassed his 
imagination. To hegin with, Sulaco (hecause of the seizure of the 
cables and the disorganization of the steam sendee) remained for a 
whole fortnight cut off from the rest of the world like a hesieged 
city. 

"One would not have helieved it possible. But so it was, sir. A 
full fortnight." 

The account of the extraordinary tilings that happened during 
that time and the powerful emotions he experienced acquired a 
wearisome impressiveness from the pompous manner of his 
personal narrative. He opened it always by assuring his hearer that 
he was "in the thick of tilings from first to last." Then he would 
begin by describing the getting away of the silver and his natural 
anxiety lest "his fellow" in charge of the lighter should make some 
mistake. Apart from the loss of so much precious metal, the life of 
Sefior Martin Decoud, an agreeable, wealthy, and well informed 
young gentleman, would have been jeopardized through his falling 
into the hands of his political enemies. Captain Mitchell also 
admitted that in his solitary vigil on the wharf he had felt a certain 
measure of concern for the future of the whole country. 

"A feeling, sir," he explained, "perfectly comprehensible in a 
man properly grateful for the many kindnesses received from the 
best families of merchants and other native gentlemen of 
independent means who, barely saved by us from the excesses of 
the mob, seemed to my mind's eye destined to become the prey in 
person and fortune, of the native soldiery, which, as is well known, 
behave with regrettable barbarity to the inhabitants during their 
civil commotions. And then, sir, there were the Goulds, for both 
of whom, man and wife, I could not but entertain the warmest 
feelings, deserved by their hospitality and kindness. I felt, too, the 
dangers of the gentlemen of the Amarilla Club, who had made me 
honorary member and had treated me with uniform regard and 
civility both in my capacity of consular agent and as superintendent 
of an important steam service. Miss Antonia Avellanos, the most 
beautiful and accomplished young lady whom it had ever been my 
privilege to speak to, was not a little in my mind, I confess. How 



the interests of my company would be affected by the impending 
change of officials claimed a large share of my attention, too. In 
short, sir, I was extremely anxious and very tired, as you may 
suppose, by die exciting and memorable events in which I had 
taken my little part. The company's building containing my 
residence was within five minutes' walk, with the attraction of some 
supper and of my hammock (I always take my nightly rest in a 
hammock, as the most suitable to the climate); but somehow, sir, 
though evidently I could do nothing for any one by remaining 
about, I could not tear myself away from that wharf, where the 
fatigue made me stumble painfully at times. The night was 
excessively dark— the darkest I remember in my life— so that I 
began to think that the arrival of the transport from Esmeralda 
could not possibly take place before daylight, owing to the 
difficulty of navigating the gulf. The mosquitos bit like fury. We 
have been infested here with mosquitos before the late 
improvements— a peculiar harbor brand, sir, renowned for its 
ferocity. They were like a cloud about my head, and I shouldn't 
wonder that but for their attacks I would have dozed off as I 
walked up and down and got a heavy fall. I kept on smoking cigar 
after cigar, more to protect myself from being eaten up alive than 
from any real relish for the weed. Then, sir, when perhaps for the 
twentieth time I was approaching my watch to the lighted end in 
order to see the time, and observing with surprise that it wanted yet 
ten minutes to midnight, I heard the plash of a ship's propeller, an 
unmistakable sound to a sailor's ear on such a calm night. It was 
faint indeed, because they were advancing with precaution and 
dead slow, both on account of the darkness and from their desire 
of not revealing too soon their presence— a very unnecessary care, 
because, I verily believe, in all the enormous extent of this harbor I 
was the only living soul about. Even the usual staff of watchmen 
and others had been absent from their posts for several nights 
owing to the disturbances. I stood stock still after dropping and 
stamping out my cigar— a circumstance highly agreeable, I should 
think, to the mosquitos, if I may judge from the state of my face 
next morning. But that was a trifling inconvenience in comparison 
with the brutal proceedings I became victim of on the part of 
Sotillo. Some tiling utterly inconceivable, sir. More like the 
proceedings of a maniac than the action of a sane man, however 
lost to all sense of honor and decency. But Sotillo was furious at 
the failure of his thievish scheme." 

In this Captain Mitchell was right. Sotillo was indeed 
infuriated. Captain Mitchell, however, had not been arrested at 
once; a vivid curiosity induced him to remain on the wharf (which 
is nearly two hundred and fifty yards long) to see, or rather hear, 
the whole process of disembarkation. Concealed by the railway 
truck used for silver, which had been run back afterwards to the 



shore end of die jetty, Captain Mitchell saw the small detachment 
thrown forward and pass hy, taking different directions upon the 
plain. Meantime the troops were heing landed and formed into a 
column whose head crept up gradually so close to him that he 
made it out barring nearly the whole width of the wharf only a very 
few yards from him. Then the low, shuffling, murmuring, clinking 
sounds ceased, and the whole mass remained for about an hour 
motionless and silent, awaiting the return of the scouts. On land 
nothing was to be heard except the deep baying of the mastiffs at 
the railway yards, answered by the faint barking of the curs 
infesting the outer limits of the town. A detached knot of dark 
shapes stood in front of the head of the column. 

Presently the picket at the end of the wharf began to challenge 
in undertones single figures approaching from the plain. Those 
messengers sent back from the scouting parties flung to their 
comrades brief sentences and passed on rapidly, becoming lost in 
the great motionless mass, to make their report to the staff. It 
occurred to Captain Mitchell that his position could become 
disagreeable, and perhaps dangerous, when, suddenly, at the head 
of the jetty, there was a shout of command, a bugle call, followed 
by a stir and a rattling of arms and a murmuring noise that ran 
right up the column. Near by a loud voice directed hurriedly, 
"Push that railway car out of the way." At the rush of bare feet to 
execute the order, Captain Mitchell skipped back a pace or two; 
the car, suddenly impelled by many hands, flew away from him 
along the rails; and before he knew what had happened he found 
himself surrounded and seized by his arms and the collar of his 
coat. 

"We have caught a man hiding here, mi teniente!" cried one of 
his captors. 

"Hold him on one side till the rearguard comes along," 
answered the voice. The whole column streamed past Captain 
Mitchell at a run, the thundering noise of their feet dying away 
suddenly on the shore. His captors held him tightly, disregarding 
his declaration that he was an Englishman, and his loud demands 
to be taken at once before their commanding officer. Finally he 
lapsed into dignified silence. With a hollow rumble of wheels on 
the planks, a couple of field guns dragged by hand rolled by. 
Then, after a small body of men had marched past, escorting four 
or five figures which walked in advance with a jingle of steel 
scabbards, he felt a tug at his arms and was ordered to come along. 
During the passage from the wharf to the custom house it is to be 
feared that Captain Mitchell was subjected to certain indignities at 
the hands of the soldiers, such as jerks, thumps on the neck, 
forcible application of the butt of a rifle to the small of his back. 
Their ideas of speed were not in accord with his notion of his 
dignity. He became flustered, flushed, and helpless. It was as if the 



world were coming to an end. 

The long building was surrounded by troops, which were 
already piling arms by companies and preparing to pass die night 
lying on die ground in dieir ponchos widi dieir sacks under dieir 
heads. Corporals moved widi swinging lanterns, posting sentries all 
round die walls wherever there was a door or an opening. Sotillo 
was taking his measures to protect his conquest as if it had indeed 
contained die treasure. His desire to make his fortune at one 
audacious stroke of genius had overmastered his reasoning 
faculties. He would not believe in die possibility of failure. The 
mere hint of such a tiling made his brain reel with rage. Every 
circumstance pointing to it appeared incredible. The statement of 
Hirsch, which was so absolutely fatal to his hopes, could by no 
means be admitted. It is true, too, that Hirsch's story had been 
told so incoherently, with such excessive signs of distraction, that it 
really looked improbable. It was extremely difficult as the saying is, 
to make head or tail of it. On the bridge of the steamer, directly 
after his rescue, Sotillo and his officers, in their impatience and 
excitement, would not give the wretched man time to collect such 
few wits as remained to him. He ought to have been quieted, 
soothed, and reassured; whereas he had been roughly handled, 
cuffed, shaken, and addressed in menacing tones. His struggles, his 
wriggles, his attempts to get down on his knees, followed by the 
most violent efforts to break away, as if he meant incontinently to 
jump overboard; his shrieks and shrinkings and cowering wild 
glances had filled them first with amazement then with a doubt of 
his genuineness, as men are wont to suspect the sincerity of every 
great passion. His Spanish, too, became so mixed up with German 
that die better half of his statements remained incomprehensible. 
He tried to propitiate them by calling them hochwohl-geboren 
herren, which in itself sounded suspicious. When admonished 
sternly not to trifle he repeated his entreaties and protestations of 
loyalty and innocence again in German, obstinately, because he 
was not aware in what language he was speaking. His identity, of 
course, was perfectly known as an inhabitant of Esmeralda, but this 
made die matter no clearer. As he kept on forgetting Decoud's 
name, mixing him up with several odier people he had seen in die 
Casa Gould, it looked as if diey all had been in die lighter togedier; 
and for a moment Sotillo thought that he had drowned every 
prominent Ribierist of Sulaco. The improbability of such a tiling 
threw a doubt upon die whole statement. Hirsch was eitiier mad or 
playing a part— pretending fear and distraction on the spur of the 
moment to cover the trudi. Sotillo's rapacity, excited to die highest 
pitch by die prospect of an immense booty, could believe in 
nothing adverse. This Jew might have been very much frightened 
by die accident, but he knew where die silver was concealed, and 
had invented this story, widi his Jewish cunning, to put him entirely 



off die track as to what had been done. 

Sotillo had taken up his quarters on the upper floor in a vast 
apartment widi heavy black beams. But diere was no ceiling, and 
the eye lost itself in die darkness under die high pitch of die roof. 
The diick shutters stood open. On a long table could be seen a 
large inkstand, some stumpy, inky quill pens, and two square 
wooden boxes, each holding half a hundred-weight of sand. Sheets 
of gray, coarse, official paper bestrewed die floor. It must have 
been a room occupied by some higher official of die customs, 
because a large leadiern armchair stood behind die table, with 
otiier high backed chairs scattered about. A net hammock was 
swung under one of die beams— for die official's afternoon siesta, 
no doubt. A couple of candles stuck into tall iron candlesticks gave 
a dim, reddish light. The colonel's hat, sword, and revolver lay 
between diem, and a couple of his more trusty officers lounged 
gloomily against die table. The colonel direw himself into die 
armchair, and a big negro widi a sergeant's stripes on his ragged 
sleeve, kneeling down, pulled off his boots. Sotillo's ebony 
mustache contrasted violendy widi die livid coloring of his cheeks. 
His eyes were sombre and as if sunk very far into his head. He 
seemed exhausted by his perplexities, languid with 
disappointment; but when die sentry on die landing dirust his head 
in to announce die arrival of a prisoner he revived at once. 

"Let him be brought in," he shouted, fiercely. 

The door flew open and Captain Mitchell, bareheaded, his 
waistcoat open, die bow of his tie under his ear, was husded into 
die room. 

Sotillo recognized him at once. He could not have hoped for a 
more precious capture. Here was a man who could tell him, if he 
chose, eveiydiing he wished to know; and, direcdy, die problem of 
how best to make him talk to die point presented itself to his 
mind. The resentment of a foreign nation had no terrors for 
Sotillo. The might of die whole armed Europe would not have 
protected Captain Mitchell from insults and ill usage so w r ell as die 
quick reflection of Sotillo diat diis was an Englishman, who would 
most likely turn obstinate under bad treatment and become quite 
unmanageable. At all events, die colonel smoodied die scowl on 
his brow r . 

"What! The excellent Senor Mitchell!" he cried, in affected 
dismay. The pretended anger of his swift advance and of his shout, 
"Release die caballero at once," was so effective that die astounded 
soldiers positively sprang away from dieir prisoner. Thus suddenly 
deprived of forcible support, Captain Mitchell reeled as though 
about to fall. Sotillo took him familiarly under die arm, led him to 
a chair, waved his hand at die room. "Go out, all of you," he 
commanded. 

When diey had been left alone he stood looking down, 



irresolute and silent, waiting till Captain Mitchell had recovered his 
power of speech. 

Here in his very grasp was one of the men concerned in die 
removal of die silver. Sotillo's temperament was of diat sort diat he 
experienced an ardent desire to heat him; just as formerly, when 
negotiating with difficulty a loan from die cautious Anzani, his 
fingers always itched to take die shopkeeper hy die diroat. As to 
Captain Mitchell, die suddenness, unexpectedness, and general 
inconceivahleness of this experience had confused his thoughts. 
Moreover, he was physically out of hreatli. 

"I've heen knocked down three times hetween this and the 
wharf," he gasped out, at last. "Somehody shall he made to pay for 
this." He had certainly stumhled more dian once, and had heen 
dragged along for some distance hefore he could regain his stride. 
Widi his recovered hreadi his indignation seemed to madden him. 
He jumped up, crimson, all his white hair hrisding, his eyes glaring 
vengefully, and shook violendy the flaps of his ruined waistcoat 
hefore die disconcerted Sotillo. "Look! Those uniformed diieves 
of yours downstairs have rohhed me of my watch." 

The old sailor's aspect was very threatening. Sotillo saw himself 
cut off from die tahle on which his sahre and revolver were lying. 

"I demand restitution and apologies," Mitchell diundered at 
him, quite heside himself. "From you! Yes, from you!" 

For die space of a second or so die colonel stood with a 
perfectly stony expression of face; then, as Captain Mitchell flung 
out an arm towards die tahle as if to snatch up die revolver, Sotillo, 
with a yell of alarm, hounded to die door and was gone in a flash, 
slamming it after him. Surprise calmed Captain Mitchell's fury. 
Behind die closed door Sotillo shouted on die landing, and diere 
was a great tumult of feet on die wooden staircase. 

"Disarm him! Bind him!" die colonel could he heard 
vociferating. 

Captain Mitchell had just die time to glance once at the 
windows, with three perpendicular hars of iron each and some 
twenty feet from die ground, as he well knew, hefore die door flew 
open and the rush upon him took place. In an incredihly short 
time he found himself hound with many turns of a hide rope to a 
high hacked chair, so diat his head alone remained free. Not till 
then did Sotillo, who had heen leaning in die doorway, tremhling 
visihly, venture again within. The soldiers, picking up from the 
floor die rifles they had dropped to grapple with die prisoner, filed 
out of die room. The officers remained leaning on dieir swords 
and looking on. 

"The watch! The watch!" raved die colonel, pacing, to and fro 
like a tiger in a cage. "Give me that man's watch." 

It was true that when searched for arms in the hall downstairs, 
hefore heing taken into Sotillo's presence, Captain Mitchell had 



been relieved of his watch and chain; but at die colonel's clamor it 
was produced quickly enough, a corporal bringing it up, carried 
carefully in die palms of his joined hands. Sotillo snatched it and 
pushed the clinched fist from which it dangled close to Captain 
Mitchell's face. 

"Now, dien; you arrogant Englishman! You dare to call die 
soldiers of die army diieves! Behold your watch." 

He flourished his fist as if aiming blows at die prisoner's nose. 
Captain Mitchell, helpless as a swadied infant, looked anxiously at 
the sixty guinea gold half-chronometer presented to him years ago 
by a committee of underwriters for saving a ship from total loss by 
fire. Sotillo, too, seemed to perceive its valuable appearance. He 
became silent suddenly, stepped aside to die table and began a 
careful examination in die light of die candles. He had never seen 
anything so fine. His officers closed in and craned dieir necks 
behind his back. 

He became so interested diat for an instant he forgot his 
precious prisoner. There is always somediing childish in the 
rapacity of die passionate, clear minded southern races, wanting in 
die misty idealism of die nordierners, who at die smallest 
encouragement dream of nothing less than die conquest of die 
earth. Sotillo was fond of jewels, gold trinkets, of personal 
adornment. After a moment he turned about, and with a 
commanding gesture made all his officers fall back. He laid down 
die watch on die table, then, negligently, pushed his hat over it. 

"Ha!" he began, going up very close to die chair. "You dare 
call my valiant soldiers of die Esmeralda regiment diieves? You 
dare? What impudence! You foreigners come here to rob our 
country of its wealth. You never have enough! Your audacity 
knows no bounds." 

He looked towards die officers, among whom diere was an 
approving murmur. The old major was moved to declare: 

"Si, mi coronel. They are all traitors." 

"I shall say nodiing," continued Sotillo, fixing die motionless 
and powerless Mitchell with an angry but uneasy stare. "I shall say 
nodiing of your treacherous attempt to get possession of my 
revolver to shoot me while I was trying to treat you with a 
consideration you did not deserve. You have forfeited your life. 
Your only hope is in my clemency." 

He watched for die effect of his words, but diere was no 
obvious sign of fear on Captain Mitchell's face. His white hair was 
full of dust, which covered also the rest of his helpless person. As 
if he had heard nodiing, he twitched an eyebrow to get rid of a bit 
of straw which hung among die hairs. 

Sotillo advanced one leg and put his arms akimbo. "It is you, 
Mitchell," he said, emphatically, "who are die thief, not my 
soldiers." He pointed at his prisoner a forefinger with a long, 



almond shaped nail. "Where is die silver of die San Tome mine? 
I ask you. Mitchell, where is die silver diat was deposited in diis 
custom house? Answer me diat! You stole it. You were a party to 
stealing it. It is stolen from die government. Aha! you diink I do 
not know what I say, hut I am up to your foreign tricks. It is gone, 
the silver. No? Gone in one of your lanchas, you miserable man. 
How dared you?" 

This time he produced his effect. "How on eardi could Sotillo 
know diat?" diought Mitchell. His head, die only part of his body 
that could move, betrayed his surprise by a sudden jerk. 

"Ha! you tremble!" Sotillo shouted suddenly. "It is a 
conspiracy. It is a crime against die state. Did you not know diat 
die silver belongs to die republic till die government claims are 
satisfied? Where is it? Where have you hidden it, you miserable 
thief?" 

At diis question Captain Mitchell's sinking spirits revived. In 
whatever incomprehensible manner Sotillo had already got his 
information about die lighter, he had not captured it. That was 
clear. In his outraged heart Captain Mitchell had resolved that 
nothing would induce him to say a word while he remained so 
disgracefully bound, but his desire to help die escape of die silver 
made him depart from diis resolution. His wits were very much at 
work. He detected in Sotillo a certain air of doubt, of irresolution. 
"That man," he said to himself, "is not certain of what he 
advances." For all his pomposity in social intercourse, Captain 
Mitchell could meet die realities of life in a resolute and ready 
spirit. Now he had got over the first shock of the abominable 
treatment he was cool and collected enough. The immense 
contempt he felt for Sotillo steadied him and he said, oracularly, 
"No doubt it is well concealed by diis time." 

Sotillo, too, had time to cool down. "Muy bien, Mitchell," he 
said, in a cold and direatening manner. "But can you produce die 
government receipt for die royalty, and die custom house permit 
of embarkation, hey? Can you? No. Then die silver has been 
removed illegally, and die guilty shall be made to suffer unless it is 
produced widiin five days from diis." He gave orders for die 
prisoner to be unbound and locked up in one of die smaller 
rooms downstairs. He walked about die room, moody and silent, 
till Captain Mitchell, with each of his arms held by a couple of 
men, stood up, shook himself, and stamped his feet. 

"How did you like to be tied up, Mitchell?" he asked, 
derisively. 

"It is die most incredible abominable use of power," Captain 
Mitchell declared, in a loud voice. "And whatever your purpose, 
you shall gain nodiing from it, I can promise you." 

The tall colonel, livid, with his coal black ringlets and 
mustache, crouched, as it were, to look into die eyes of die short, 



thickset, red faced prisoner widi rumpled white hair. 

"That we shall see. You shall know my power a little hetter 
when I tie you up to a potalon outside in die sun for a whole day." 
He drew himself up haughtily, and made a sign for Captain 
Mitchell to he led away. 

"What about my watch?" cried Captain Mitchell, hanging back 
from die efforts of die men pulling him towards die door. 

Sotillo turned to his officers. "No! But only listen to diis 
picaro, Caballeros," he pronounced, widi affected scorn, and was 
answered by a chorus of derisive laughter. "He demands his 
watch!". . . He ran up again to Captain Mitchell, for die desire to 
relieve his feelings by inflicting blows and pain upon this English 
man was very strong within him. "Your watch! You are a prisoner 
in wartime, Mitchell— in wartime! You have no rights and no 
property. Caramba! The very breath in your body belongs to me. 
Remember that." 

"Bosh!" said Captain Mitchell, concealing a disagreeable 
impression. 

Down below, in a great hall with an earthen floor and with a 
tall mound thrown up by white ants in a corner, die soldiers had 
kindled a small fire with broken chairs and tables near die arched 
gateway, dirough which die faint murmur of die harbor waters on 
the beach could be heard. While Captain Mitchell was being led 
down die staircase an officer passed him, running up to report to 
Sotillo die capture of more prisoners. A lot of smoke hung about 
in the vast gloomy place, die fire crackled, and as if dirough a haze 
Captain Mitchell made out, surrounded by short soldiers widi 
fixed bayonets, die heads of diree tall prisoners: the doctor, die 
engineer-in-chief, and die white leonine mane of old Viola, who 
stood half turned away from die others with his chin on his breast 
and his arms crossed. Mitchell's astonishment knew no bounds. 
He cried out; die otiier two exclaimed also. But he was hurried on, 
diagonally, across die big, cavern like hall. Lots of dioughts, 
surmises, hints of caution, and so on, crowded his head to 
distraction. 

"Is he actually keeping you?" shouted die chief engineer, 
whose single eyeglass glittered in die firelight. 

An officer from die top of die stairs was shouting urgently, 
"Bring diem all up— all three." 

In die clamor of voices and die rattie of arms Captain Mitchell 
made himself heard imperfecdy. "By Heavens! The fellow has 
stolen my watch!" 

The engineer-in-chief on die staircase resisted die pressure 
long enough to shout, "What? What did you say?" 

"My chronometer!" Captain Mitchell yelled violendy, at the 
very moment of being thrust headforemost through a small door 
into a sort of cell perfecdy black and so narrow diat he fetched up 



against die opposite wall The door had heen instandy slammed. 
He knew where diey had put him. This was die strongroom of die 
custom house, whence die silver had heen removed only a few 
hours earlier. It was almost as narrow as a corridor, widi a small, 
square aperture harred by a heavy grating at die distant end. 
Captain Mitchell staggered for a few steps, dien sat down on the 
earthen floor widi his back to die wall. Nothing, not even a gleam 
of light from anywhere, interfered widi Captain Mitchell's 
meditation. He did some hard but not very extensive diinking. It 
was not of a gloomy cast. The old sailor, widi all his small 
weakness and absurdities, was constitutionally incapable of 
entertaining for any length of time a fear of his personal safety. It 
was not so much firmness of soul as die lack of a certain kind of 
imagination— die kind whose undue development caused intense 
suffering to Senor Hirsch; diat sort of imagination which adds the 
blind terror of bodily suffering and of death, envisaged as an 
accident to die body alone, stricdy, to all die odier apprehensions 
on which die sense of one's existence is based. Unfortunately, 
Captain Mitchell had not much penetration of any kind; 
characteristic, illuminating trifles of expression, action, or 
movement, escaped him completely. He was too pompously and 
innocendy aware of his own existence to observe that of odiers. 
For instance, he could not believe diat Sotillo had been really 
afraid of him, and this simply because it would never have entered 
into his head to shoot any one except in die most pressing case of 
self-defence. Anybody could see he was not a murdering kind of 
man, he reflected quite gravely. Then why this preposterous and 
insulting charge, he asked himself. But his tiioughts mainly clung 
around die astounding and unanswerable question: How die devil 
die fellow got to know diat die silver had gone off in die lighter? It 
was obvious diat he had not captured it. And, obviously, he could 
not have captured it. In this last conclusion Captain Mitchell was 
misled by die assumption drawn from his observation of the 
weadier during his long vigil on die wharf. He diought diat diere 
had been much more wind dian usual diat night in die gulf; 
whereas, as a matter of fact, die reverse was die case. 

'How in die name of all that's marvelous did diat confounded 
fellow get wind of die affair?" was die first question he asked 
directly after die bang, clatter, and flash of die open door (which 
was closed again almost before he could lift his dropped head) 
informed him diat he had a companion of captivity. Dr. 
Monygham's voice stopped muttering curses in English and 
Spanish. 

"Is diat you, Mitchell?" he made answer, surlily. "I struck my 
forehead against this confounded wall with enough force to fell an 
ox. Where are you?" 

Captain Mitchell, accustomed to die darkness, could make out 



die doctor stretching out his hands blindly. 

"I am sitting here on die floor. Don't fall over my legs," 
Captain Mitchell's voice announced widi great dignity of tone. The 
doctor, entreated not to walk about in die dark, sank down to die 
ground, too. The two prisoners of Sotillo, widi dieir heads nearly 
touching, began to exchange confidences. 

"Yes," the doctor related, in a low tone, to Captain Mitchell's 
vehement curiosity, "we have been nabbed in old Viola's place. It 
seems diat one of dieir pickets commanded by an officer pushed 
as far as die town gate. They had orders not to enter, but to bring 
along every soul they could find on die plain. We had been talking 
in diere widi die door open, and no doubt diey saw die glimmer of 
our light. They must have been making dieir approaches for some 
time. The engineer laid himself on a bench in a recess by the 
fireplace and I went upstairs to have a look. I hadn't heard any 
sound from diere for a long time. Old Viola, as soon, as he saw 
me come up, lifted his arm for silence. I stole in on tiptoe. By 
Jove! his wife was lying down and had gone to sleep. The woman 
had actually dropped off to sleep! 'Seiior Doctor,' Viola whispers 
to me, 'it looks as if her oppression was going to get better.' 'Yes,' I 
said, very much surprised, 'your wife is a wonderful woman, 
Giorgio.' Just dien a shot was fired in die kitchen which made us 
jump and cower as if at a thunderclap. It seems diat die party of 
soldiers had stolen quite close up and one of diem had crept up to 
die door. He looked in, diought there was no one there, and 
holding his rifle ready entered quietly. The chief told me diat he 
had just closed his eyes for a moment: when he opened diem he 
saw the man already in the middle of the room peering into the 
dark corners. The chief was so starded diat, without diinking, he 
made one leap from die recess right out in front of die fireplace. 
The soldier, no less starded, up widi his rifle and pulls die trigger, 
deafening and singeing die engineer, but in his flurry missing him 
completely. But look what happens! At die noise of die report die 
sleeping woman sat up, as if moved by a spring, widi a shriek, 'The 
children, Gian' Battista! Save the children!' I have it in my ears 
now. It was die truest cry of distress I ever heard. I stood as if 
paralyzed, but die old husband ran across to die bedside stretching 
out his hands. She clung to diem. I could see her eyes go glazed. 
The old fellow lowered her down on die pillows and then looked 
round at me. She was dead. All this took less than five minutes, 
and dien I ran down to see what was die matter. It was no use 
diinking of any resistance. Nodiing we two could say availed widi 
die officer, so I volunteered to go up widi a couple of soldiers and 
fetch down old Viola. He was sitting at the foot of die bed looking 
at his wife's face and did not seem to hear what I said; but after I 
had pulled the sheet over her head he got up and followed us 
downstairs quiedy, in a sort of dioughtful way. They marched us 



off along die road, leaving the door open and die candle burning. 
The chief engineer strode on without a word, but I looked back 
once or twice at die feeble gleam. After we had gone some 
considerable distance die Garibaldino. who was walking by my 
side, suddenly said: 'I have buried many men on batdefields on 
this continent. The priests talk of consecrated ground! Bah! All the 
eardi made by God is holy; but die sea, which knows nodiing of 
kings and priests and tyrants, is die holiest of all. Doctor, I should 
like to bury her in die sea. No mummeries, candles, incense, no 
holy water mumbled over by priests. The spirit of liberty is upon 
die waters.' . . . Amazing old man. He was saying all diis in an 
undertone, as if talking to himself." 

"Yes, yes," interrupted Captain Mitchell, impatiently. "Poor 
old chap! But have you any idea how diat ruffian Sotillo obtained 
his information? He did not get hold of any of our cargadores who 
helped with die truck, did lie? But no, it is impossible! These were 
picked men we've had in our boats for these five years, and I paid 
diem myself specially for die job, with instructions to keep out of 
die way for twenty-four hours at least. I saw diem with my own 
eyes march off with die Italians to die railway yards. The chief 
promised to give diem rations as long as they wanted to remain 
diere." 

"Well," said die doctor, slowly, "I can tell you diat you may say 
goodbye forever to your best lighter and to die capataz of 
cargadores." 

At diis Captain Mitchell scrambled up to his feet in die excess 
of his excitement. The doctor, widiout giving him time to exclaim, 
stated briefly die part played by Hirsch during die night. 

Captain Mitchell was overcome. "Drowned!" he muttered, in a 
bewildered and appalled whisper. "Drowned!" Aftenvards he kept 
still, apparently listening, but too absorbed in die news of die 
catastrophe to follow die doctor's narrative with attention. 

The doctor had taken up an attitude of perfect ignorance, till at 
last Sotillo was induced to have Hirsch brought in to repeat die 
whole story, which was got out of him again with the greatest 
difficulty, because every moment he would break out into 
lamentations. At last Hirsch was led away, looking more dead dian 
alive, and shut up in one of die upstairs rooms to be close at hand. 
Then die doctor, keeping up his character of a man not admitted 
to the inner councils of die San Tome administration, remarked 
that the story sounded incredible. Of course, he said, he couldn't 
tell what had been die action of die Europeans, as he had been 
exclusively occupied with his own work in looking after die 
wounded and also in attending Don Jose Avellanos. He had 
succeeded in assuming so well a tone of impartial indifference diat 
Sotillo seemed to be completely deceived. Till dien a show r of 
regular inquiry had been kept up— one of die officers sitting at die 



table wrote down the questions and die answers; die odiers, 
lounging about die room, listened attentively, pulling at dieir long 
cigars and keeping dieir eyes on the doctor. But at diat point 
Sotillo ordered everybody out. 



Ill 



DIRECTLY diey were alone die colonel's severe official manner 
changed. He rose and approached die doctor. His eyes shone with 
rapacity and hope; he became confidential. "The silver might have 
been indeed put on board die lighter, but it was not conceivable 
that it should have been taken out to sea." The doctor, watching 
every word, nodded slightly, smoking widi apparent relish die cigar 
which Sotillo had offered him as a sign of his friendly intentions. 
His manner of cold detachment from die rest of die Europeans 
led Sotillo on till, from conjecture to conjecture, he arrived at 
hinting diat in his opinion this was a put up job on the part of 
Charles Gould in order to get hold of diat immense treasure all to 
himself. The doctor, observant and self-possessed, muttered, "He 
is very capable of that." 

Here Captain Mitchell exclaimed, with amazement, 
amusement, and indignation, "You said diat of Charles Gould!" 
Disgust and even some suspicion crept into his tone, for to him, 
too, as to odier Europeans, diere appeared to be something 
dubious about die doctor's personality. 

"What on eardi made you say diat to diat watch stealing 
scoundrel?" he asked. "What's die object of an infernal lie of diat 
sort? That confounded pickpocket was quite capable of believing 
you." 

He snorted. For a time die doctor remained silent in die dark. 

"Yes, diat is exacdy what I did say," he uttered at last, in a tone 
which would have made it clear enough to a diird party diat die 
pause was not of a reluctant but of a redective character. Captain 
Mitchell diought diat he had never heard anytiiing so brazenly 
impudent in his life. 

"Well, well!" he muttered to himself, but he had not die heart 
to voice his dioughts. They were swept away by odiers full of 
astonishment and regret. A heavy sense of discomfiture crushed 
him: die loss of die silver, die deadi of Nostromo, which was really 
quite a blow to his sensibilities, because he had become attached 
to his capataz as people get attached to dieir inferiors from love of 
ease and almost unconscious gratitude. And when he thought of 
Decoud being drowned, too, his sensibility was almost overcome 
by this miserable end. What a heavy blow for diat poor young 
woman! Captain Mitchell did not belong to die species of crabbed 
old bachelors, on die contrary, he liked to see young men paying 



attentions to young women. It seemed to him a natural and proper 
tiling. Proper, especially. As to sailors, it was different; it was not 
their place to marry, he maintained; hut it was on moral grounds as 
a matter of self denial; for, he explained, life on hoard ship is not 
fit for a woman even at hest, and if you leave her on shore, first of 
all it is not fair, and next she either suffers from it or doesn't care a 
bit, which in both cases is bad. He couldn't have told what upset 
him most— Charles Gould's immense material loss, the death of 
Nostromo, which was a heavy loss to himself, or the idea of that 
beautiful and accomplished young woman being plunged into 
mourning. 

"Yes," the doctor, who had been apparently reflecting some 
more, began again, "he believed me right enough. I thought he 
would have hugged me. 'Si, si,' he said, 'he will write to that 
partner of his, the rich Americano in San Francisco, that it is all 
lost. Why not? There is enough to share with many people.'" 

"But this is perfectly imbecile!" cried Captain Mitchell. 

The doctor remarked that Sotillo was imbecile, and that his 
imbecility was ingenious enough to lead him completely astray. He 
had helped him only but a little way. 

"I mentioned," the doctor said, "in a sort of casual way, that 
treasure is generally buried in the earth rather than being set afloat 
upon the sea. At this my Sotillo slapped his forehead. Tor Dios, 
yes,' he said, 'they must have buried it on the shores of this harbor 
somewhere before they sailed out.'" 

"Heavens and earth!" muttered Captain Mitchell. "I should not 
have believed that anybody could be ass enough—" He paused, 
then went on, mournfully: "But what's the good of all this? It 
would have been a clever enough lie if the lighter had been still 
afloat. It would have kept that inconceivable idiot perhaps from 
sending out the steamer to cruise in the gulf. That was the danger 
that worried me no end." Captain Mitchell sighed profoundly. 

"I had an object," the doctor pronounced, slowly. 

"Had you?" muttered Captain Mitchell. "Well, that's lucky, or 
else I would have thought that you went on fooling him for the fun 
of the tiling. And perhaps that was your object. Well, I must say I 
personally wouldn't condescend to that sort of tiling. It is not to my 
taste. No, no. Blackening a friend's character is not my idea of fun, 
if it were to fool the greatest blackguard on earth." 

Had it not been for Captain Mitchell's depression, caused by 
the fatal news, his distrust of Dr. Monygham would have taken a 
more outspoken shape; but he thought to himself that now it really 
did not matter what that man, whom he had never liked, would say 
and do. 

"I wonder," he grumbled, "why they have shut us up together, 
or why Sotillo should have shut you up at all since it seems to me 
you have been fairly chummy up there?" 



"Yes, I wonder," said die doctor, grimly. 

Captain Mitchell's heart was so heavy diat he would have 
preferred for the time being a complete solitude to die best of 
company. But any company would have been preferable to the 
doctor's, at whom he had always looked askance as a sort of 
beachcomber of superior intelligence pardy reclaimed from his 
abased state. That feeling led him to ask: 

"What has diat ruffian done widi die odier two?" 

"The chief engineer he would have let go in any case," said the 
doctor. "He wouldn't like to have a quarrel widi die railway upon 
his hands. Not just yet, at any rate. I don't diink, Captain Mitchell, 
diat you understand exacdy what Sotillo's position is—" 

"I don't see why I should bodier my head about it," snarled 
Captain Mitchell. 

"No," assented die doctor, widi die same grim composure, "I 
don't see why you should. It wouldn't help a single human being in 
die world if you diought ever so hard upon any subject whatever." 

"No," said Captain Mitchell, simply, and widi evident 
depression. "A man locked up in a confounded dark hole is not 
much use to anybody." 

"As to old Viola," die doctor continued, as diough he had not 
heard, "Sotillo released him for die same reason he is presendy 
going to release you." 

"Eh? What?" exclaimed Captain Mitchell, staring like an owl 
in die darkness. "What is diere in common between me and old 
Viola? More likely because the old chap has no watch and chain 
for die pickpocket to steal. And I tell you what, Dr. Monygham," 
he went on widi rising choler, "he will find it more difficult than he 
diinks to get rid of me. He will burn his fingers over diat job yet, I 
can tell you. To begin widi, I won't go widiout my watch, and as to 
the rest— we shall see. I dare say it is no great matter for you to be 
locked up. But Joe Mitchell is a different kind of man, sir. I don't 
mean to submit tamely to insult and robbery. I am a public 
character, sir." 

And dien Captain Mitchell became aware diat die bars of die 
opening had become visible— a black grating upon a square of gray. 
The coming of die day silenced Captain Mitchell as if by die 
reflection diat now in all die future days he would be deprived of 
the invaluable services of his capataz. He leaned against die wall 
widi his arms folded on his breast, and die doctor walked up and 
down die whole lengdi of die place widi his peculiar, hobbling gait, 
as if slinking about on damaged feet. At die end tardiest from die 
grating he would be lost altogedier in die darkness. Only die slight, 
limping shuffle could be heard. There w r as an air of moody 
detachment in diat painful prowl kept up widiout a pause. When 
die door of die prison was suddenly flung open and his name 
shouted out, he show r ed no surprise. He swerved sharply in his 



walk and passed out at once, as though much depended upon his 
speed; hut Captain Mitchell remained for some time with his 
shoulders against the wall, quite undecided in the bitterness of his 
spirit whether it wouldn't be better to refuse to stir a limb in the 
way of protest. He had half a mind to get himself carried out, but 
after the officer at the door had shouted three or four times in 
tones of remonstrance and surprise he condescended to walk out. 

Sotillo's manner had changed. The colonel's offhand civility 
was slightly irresolute, as though he were in doubt if civility were 
the proper course in this case. He observed Captain Mitchell 
attentively before he spoke from the big armchair behind the table, 
in a condescending voice: 

"I have concluded not to detain you, Senor Mitchell. I am of a 
forgiving disposition. I make allowances. Let this be a lesson to 
you, however." 

The peculiar dawn of Sulaco, which seems to break far away to 
the westward and creep back into the shade of the mountains, 
mingled with the reddish light of the candles. Captain Mitchell, in 
sign of contempt and indifference, let his eyes roam all over the 
room, and he gave a hard stare at the doctor, perched already on 
the casement of one of the windows, with his eyelids lowered, 
careless and thoughtful— or perhaps ashamed. 

Sotillo, ensconced in the vast armchair, remarked: "I should 
have thought that the feelings of a caballero would have dictated to 
you an appropriate reply." 

He waited for it, but Captain Mitchell remaining mute, more 
from extreme resentment than from reasoned intention, Sotillo 
hesitated, glanced towards tire doctor, who looked up and nodded, 
then went on with a slight effort: 

"Here, Senor Mitchell, is your watch. Learn how hasty and 
unjust has been your judgment of my patriotic soldiers." 

Lying back in his seat he extended his arm over tire table and 
pushed the watch away slightly. Captain Mitchell walked up with 
undisguised eagerness, put it to his ear, then slipped it into his 
pocket coolly. 

Sotillo seenred to overcome an immense reluctance. Again he 
looked aside at tire doctor, who stared at him unwinkingly. 

But as Captain Mitchell was turning away, without as much as a 
nod or a glance, he hastened to say: "You may go and wait 
downstairs for tire Senor Doctor, whom I anr going to liberate too. 
You foreigners are insignificant to my mind." 

He forced a slight discordant laugh out of himself, while 
Captain Mitchell for tire first time looked at him with sonre 
interest. 

"The law shall take note later on of your transgressions," 
Sotillo hurried on. "But as for nre, you can live free, unguarded, 
unobserved. Do you hear, Senor Mitchell? You may depart to 



your affairs. You are beneath my notice. My attention is claimed 
by matters of the very highest importance." 

Captain Mitchell was very nearly provoked to an answer. It 
displeased him to be liberated insultingly; but want of sleep, 
prolonged anxieties, a profound disappointment with the fatal 
ending of the silver-saving business weighed upon his spirits. It was 
as much as he could do to conceal his uneasiness, not about 
himself, perhaps, but about tilings in general. It occurred to him 
distinctly that something underhand was going on. As he went out 
he ignored the doctor pointedly. 

"A brute," said Sotillo, as the door shut. 

Dr. Monygham slipped off the windowsill, and, thrusting his 
hands into the pockets of tire long, gray dustcoat he was wearing, 
made a few steps into tire room. 

Sotillo got up, too, and, putting himself in the way, examined 
him from head to foot. 

"So your countrymen do not confide in you very much, Sehor 
Doctor? They do not love you? Eh? Why is that, I wonder?" 

The doctor, lifting his head, answered by a long, lifeless stare 
and the words, "Perhaps because I have lived too long in 
Costaguana." 

Sotillo had a gleam of white teeth under the black mustache. 

"Alia! But you love yourself," he said, encouragingly. 

"If you leave them alone," the doctor said, looking with the 
same lifeless stare at Sotillo's handsome face, "they will betray 
themselves very soon. Meantime, I may try to make Don Carlos 
speak." 

"All, Sehor Doctor," said Sotillo, wagging his head, "you are a, 
man of quick intelligence. We were made to understand each 
other." He turned away. He could bear no longer that 
expressionless and motionless stare, which seemed to have a sort 
of impenetrable emptiness like the black depth of an abyss. 

Even in a man utterly devoid of moral sense there remains an 
appreciation of rascality which, being conventional, is perfectly 
clear. Sotillo thought that Dr. Monygham, so different from all 
Europeans, was ready to sell his countrymen and Charles Gould, 
his employer, for some share of the San Tome silver. Sotillo did 
not despise him for that. The colonel's want of moral sense was of 
a profound and innocent character. It bordered upon stupidity- 
moral stupidity. Nothing that served his ends could appear to him 
really reprehensible. Nevertheless, he despised Dr. Monygham. 
He had for him an immense and satisfactory contempt. He 
despised him with all his heart, because he did not mean to let the 
doctor have any reward at all. He despised him not as a man 
without faith and honor, but as a fool. Dr. Monygham's insight 
into his character had deceived Sotillo completely. Therefore he 
thought the doctor a fool. 



Since his arrival in Sulaco the colonel's ideas had undergone 
some modification. 

He no longer wished for a political career in Montero's 
administration. He had always douhted tire safety of that course. 
Since he had learned from the chief engineer that at daylight most 
likely he would he confronted hy Pedro Montero, his misgivings 
on that point had considerably increased. The guerrillero brother 
of the general, the Pedrito of popular speech, had a reputation of 
his own. He wasn't safe to deal with. Sotillo had vaguely planned 
seizing not only the treasure but tire town itself, and then 
negotiating at leisure. But in tire face of facts learned from tire chief 
engineer (who had frankly disclosed to him the whole situation) his 
audacity, never of a very dashing kind, had been replaced by a 
most cautious hesitation. 

"An army— an army crossed the mountains under Pedrito 
already," he had repeated, unable to hide his consternation. "If it 
had not been that I am given tire news by a man of your position I 
would never have believed it. Astonishing!" 

"An armed force," corrected tire engineer, suavely. 

His aim was attained. It was to keep Sulaco clear of any armed 
occupation for a few hours longer, to let those whom fear impelled 
leave the town. In the general dismay there were families hopeful 
enough to fly upon tire road towards Los Hatos, which w r as left 
open by die withdrawal of the armed rabble under Sefiores 
Fuentes and Gamacho to Rincon, with their enthusiastic welcome 
for Pedro Montero. It was a hasty and risky exodus, and it was said 
that Hernandez, occupying with his band the woods about Los 
Hatos, w r as receiving the fugitives. That a good many people he 
knew were contemplating such a flight had been well known to the 
chief engineer. 

Father Corbelan's efforts in the cause of that most pious 
robber had not been altogether fruitless. The political chief of 
Sulaco had yielded at the last moment to the urgent entreaties of 
the priest, had signed a provisional nomination appointing 
Hernandez a general, and calling upon him officially in this new 
capacity to preserve order in the town. The fact is that the political 
chief, seeing tire situation desperate, did not care what he signed. It 
was tire last official document he signed before he left the palace of 
tire Intendencia for tire refuge of the O.S.N. Company's office. 
But even had he meant his act to be effective it was already too 
late. The riot which he feared and expected broke out in less than 
an hour after Father Corbelan had left him. Indeed, Father 
Corbelan, who had appointed a meeting with Nostromo in tire 
Dominican convent, where he had his residence in one of the 
cells, never managed to reach tire place. From the Intendencia he 
had gone straight on to the Avellanos house to tell his brother-in- 
law, and though he stayed there no more than half an hour he had 



found himself cut off from his ascetic abode. Nostromo, after 
waiting there for some time watching uneasily the increasing 
uproar in tire street, had nrade his way to tire offices of tire 
Poiienir and stayed there till daylight, as Decoud had mentioned 
in the letter to his sister. Thus tire capataz, instead of riding 
towards tire Los Hatos woods as bearer of Hernandez's 
nomination, had remained in town to save tire life of tire President- 
Dictator, to assist in repressing tire outbreak of tire nrob, and at last 
to sail out with tire silver of tire mine. 

But Father Corbelan, escaping to Hernandez, had tire 
docunrent in his pocket, a piece of official writing turning a bandit 
into a general in a nrenrorable last official act of tire Ribierist party, 
whose watch words were honesty, peace, and progress. Probably 
neither tire priest nor the bandit saw tire irony of it. Father 
Corbelan nrust have found messengers to send into tire town, for 
early on tire second day of tire disturbances there were runrors of 
Hernandez being on tire road to Los Matos ready to receive those 
who would put themselves under his protection. A strange looking 
horseman, elderly and audacious, had appeared in tire town, riding 
slowly while his eyes examined tire fronts of tire houses as though 
he had never seen such high buildings before. Before tire cathedral 
he had disnrounted, and, kneeling in tire nriddle of tire Plaza, his 
bridle over his arnr and his hat lying in front of him on tire ground, 
had bowed his head, crossing himself and beating his breast for 
sonre little time. Remounting his horse with a fearless but not 
unfriendly look round tire little gathering formed about his public 
devotions, he had asked for tire Casa Avellanos. A score of hands 
were extended in answer, with fingers pointing up tire Calle de la 
Constitucion. 

The horseman had gone on with only a glance of casual 
curiosity upward to tire windows of the Anrarilla Club at the 
corner. His stentorian voice shouted periodically in tire empty 
street: "Which is tire Casa Avellanos?" till an answer came from 
tire scared porter, and he disappeared under tire gate. The letter 
he was bringing, written by Father Corbelan with a pencil by tire 
canrpfire of Hernandez, was addressed to Don Jose, of whose 
critical state tire priest was not aware. Antonia read it, and, after 
consulting Charles Gould, sent it on for tire information of tire 
gentlemen garrisoning tire Anrarilla Club. For herself, her mind 
was made up; she would rejoin her uncle; she would entrust tire 
last day— tire last hours, perhaps— of her father's life to tire keeping 
of tire bandit whose existence was a protest against the 
irresponsible tyranny of all parties alike; against the moral darkness 
of tire laird. The gloonr of tire Los Hatos woods was preferable; a 
life of hardships in tire train of a robber band less debasing. 
Antonia enrbraced with all her soul her uncle's obstinate defiance 
of misfortune. It was grounded in tire belief in tire man whom she 



loved. 

In his message the Vicar General answered upon his head for 
Hernandez's fidelity. As to his power, he pointed out that he had 
remained unsuhdued for so many years. In that letter Decoud's 
idea of die new Occidental state (whose flourishing and stahle 
condition is a matter of common knowledge now) was for the first 
time made puhlic and used as an argument. Hernandez, ex-bandit 
and the last general of Rihierist creation, was confident of heing 
ahle to hold the tract of country between tire woods of Los Hatos 
and tire coast range till that devoted patriot, Don Martin Decoud, 
could bring General Barrios back to Sulaco for the reconquest of 
the town. 

"Heaven itself wills it. Providence is on our side," wrote Father 
Corbelan; there was no time to reflect upon or to controvert his 
statement; and if tire discussion started upon tire reading of that 
letter in the Amarilla Club was violent, it was also short-lived. In 
tire general bewilderment of the collapse some jumped at tire idea 
with joyful astonishment as upon the amazing discovery of a new 
hope. Others became fascinated by tire prospect of immediate 
personal safety for their women and children. The majority caught 
at it as a drowning man catches at a straw. Father Corbelan was 
unexpectedly offering them a refuge from Pedrito Montero with 
his Iianeros allied to Senores Fuentes and Gamacho with their 
armed rabble. 

All tire latter part of the afternoon an animated discussion went 
on in tire big rooms of the Amarilla Club. Fven those members 
posted at tire windows with rifles and carbines to guard the end of 
the street in case of an offensive return of the populace shouted 
their opinions and arguments over their shoulders. As dusk fell, 
Don Juste Lopez, inviting those caballeros who were of his way of 
thinking to follow him, withdrew into tire corridor, where at a little 
table in tire light of two candles he busied himself in composing an 
address, or rather a solemn declaration, to be presented to Pedrito 
Montero by a deputation of such members of Assembly as had 
elected to remain in town. His idea was to propitiate him in order 
to save tire form at least of parliamentary institutions. Seated 
before a blank sheet of paper, a goose quill pen in his hand, and 
surged upon from all sides, he turned to tire right and to the left, 
repeating with solemn insistence: 

"Caballeros, a moment of silence! A moment of silence! We 
ought to make it clear that we bow in all good faith to the 
accomplished facts." 

The utterance of that phrase seemed to give him a melancholy 
satisfaction. The hubbub of voices round him was growing strained 
and hoarse. In tire sudden pauses the excited grimacing of the 
faces would sink all at once into tire stillness of profound dejection. 

Meantime tire exodus had begun. Carretas full of ladies and 



children rolled swaying across die plaza, widi men walking or 
riding by dieir side; mounted parties followed on mules and 
horses; die poorest were setting out on foot, men and women 
carrying bundles, clasping babies in their arms, leading old people, 
dragging along die bigger children. When Charles Gould, after 
leaving die doctor and die engineer at die Casa Viola, entered die 
town by die harbor gate, all diose diat had meant to go were gone 
and die odiers had barricaded diemselves in dieir houses. In die 
whole dark street diere was only one spot of flickering lights and 
moving figures, where die Sefior Administrador recognized his 
wife's carriage waiting at die door of die Avellanos house. He rode 
up, almost unnoticed, and looked on without a word while some 
of his own servants came out of die gate carrying Don Jose 
Avellanos, who widi closed eyes and motionless features appeared 
perfectiy lifeless. His wife and Antonia walked on each side of die 
improvised stretcher, which was put at once into die carriage. The 
two women embraced; while from the odier side of die landau 
Fadier Corbelan's emissary, widi his ragged beard all streaked widi 
gray, and high, bronzed cheekbones, stared, sitting upright in die 
saddle. Then Antonia, dry-eyed, got in by die side of die stretcher, 
and, after making die sign of die cross rapidly, lowered a diick veil 
upon her face. The servants and die diree or four neighbors who 
had come to assist, stood back, uncovering dieir heads. On the 
box Ignacio, resigned now to driving all night (and to having, 
perhaps, his throat cut before daylight), looked back surlily over 
his shoulder. 

"Drive carefully," cried Mrs. Gould, in a tremulous voice. 

"Si, carefully, si, nina," he mumbled, chewing his lips, his 
round leadieiy cheeks quivering. And die landau rolled slowly out 
of die light. 

"I will see diem as far as die ford," said Charles Gould to his 
wife. She stood on die edge of the sidewalk widi her hands clasped 
lightiy, and nodded to him as he followed after the carriage. And 
now die windows of die Amarilla Club were dark. The last spark 
of resistance had died out. Turning his head at die corner, Charles 
Gould saw his wife crossing over to dieir own gate in die lighted 
patch of die street. One of dieir neighbors, a well known merchant 
and landowner of die province, followed at her elbow r , talking widi 
great gestures. As she passed in all die lights went out in die street, 
which remained dark and empty from end to end. 

The houses of die vast plaza were lost in die night. High up, 
like a star, there was a small gleam in one of the tow r ers of die 
cadiedral; and die equestrian statue gleamed pale against die black 
trees of the Alameda, like a ghost of royalty haunting die scenes of 
revolution. The rare prowlers diey met ranged diemselves against 
die wall. Beyond die last houses die carriage rolled noiselessly on 
die soft cushion of dust, and widi a greater obscurity a feeling of 



freshness seemed to fall from the foliage of tire trees hordering die 
country road. The emissary from Hernandez's camp pushed his 
horse close to Charles Gould. 

"Cahallero," he said, in an interested voice, "you are he whom 
diey call die King of Sulaco, die master of die mine. Is it not so?" 

"Yes, I am die master of die mine," answered Charles Gould. 

The man cantered for a time in silence, dien said: "I have a 
hrodier, a sereno in your service in die San Tome Valley. You 
have proved yourself a just man. There had heen no wrong done 
to any one since you called upon the people to work in the 
mountains. My hrodier says diat no official of die government, no 
oppressor of die Campo, had heen seen on your side of die 
stream. Your own officials do not oppress die people in the gorge. 
Douhtiess diey are afraid of your severity. You are a just man and 
a powerful one," he added. 

He spoke in an ahrupt, independent tone, hut evidendy he was 
communicative with a purpose. He told Charles Gould that he had 
heen a ranchero in one of die lower valleys far soudi, a neighhor of 
Hernandez in die old days and godfadier to his eldest hoy; one of 
diose who joined him in his resistance to die recruiting raid which 
was die beginning of all their misfortunes. It was he diat, when his 
compadre had been carried off, had buried his wife and children, 
murdered by die soldiers. 

"Si, senor," he muttered hoarsely, "I and two or three odiers, 
die lucky ones left at liberty, buried diem all in one grave near die 
ashes of dieir ranch, under die tree diat had shaded its roof." 

It was to him, too, diat Hernandez came after he had deserted, 
diree years afterwards. He had still his uniform on, with the 
sergeant's stripes on die sleeve and die blood of his colonel upon 
his hands and breast. Three troopers followed him of diose who 
had started in pursuit but had ridden on for liberty. And be told 
Charles Gould how he and a few friends, seeing diose soldiers, lay 
in ambush behind some rocks ready to pull die trigger on diem, 
when he recognized his compadre and jumped up from cover 
shouting his name, because he knew diat Hernandez could not 
have been coming back on an errand of injustice and oppression. 
Those diree soldiers, togedier with die party who lay behind the 
rocks, had formed die nucleus of die famous band, and he, the 
narrator, had been the favorite lieutenant of Hernandez for many, 
many years. He mentioned proudly diat the officials had put a 
price upon his head, too; but it did not prevent it getting sprinkled 
with gray upon his shoulders. And now he had lived long enough 
to see his compadre made a general. 

He had a burst of muffled laughter. "And now from robbers 
we have become soldiers. But look caballero, at diose who made 
us soldiers and him a general! Look at diese people!" 

Ignacio shouted. The light of die carriage lamps, running along 



die nopal hedges diat crowned die bank on each side, flashed 
upon die scared faces of people standing aside in die road, sunk 
deep, like an English country lane, into die soft soil of die Canipo. 
They cowered; dieir eyes glistened very big for a second; and dien 
die light, running on, fell upon die half-denuded roots of a big tree, 
on anodier stretch of nopal hedge, caught up anodier bunch of 
faces glaring back apprehensively. Three women— of whom one 
was carrying a child— and a couple of men in civilian dress— one 
armed with a sabre and anodier with a gun— were grouped about a 
donkey carrying two bundles tied up in blankets. Fardier on 
Ignacio shouted again to pass a carreta, a long wooden box on two 
high wheels with die door at die back swinging open. Some ladies 
in it must have recognized die white mules, because diey screamed 
out, "Is it you, Doha Emilia?" 

At die turn of die road die glare of a big fire filled die short 
stretch vaulted over by the branches meeting overhead. Near die 
ford of a shallow stream a roadside rancho of woven rushes and a 
roof of grass had been set on fire by accident, and die flames, 
roaring viciously, lit up an open space blocked with horses, mules, 
and a distracted, shouting crowd of people. When Ignacio pulled 
up, several ladies on foot assailed the carriage, begging Antonia for 
a seat. To dieir clamor she answered by pointing silendy to her 
fatiier. 

"I must leave you here," said Charles Gould, in die uproar. 
The flames leaped up skydiigh, and in the recoil from die 
scorching heat across die road die stream of fugitives pressed 
against die carriage. A middle aged lady dressed in black silk, but 
with a coarse manta over her head and a rough branch for a stick 
in her hand, staggered against die front wheel. Two young girls, 
frightened and silent, were clinging to her arms. Charles Gould 
knew her very well. 

"Misericordia! We are getting terribly bruised in diis crowd!" 
she exclaimed, smiling up courageously to him. "We have started 
on foot. All our servants ran away yesterday to join die democrats. 
We are going to put ourselves under the protection of Fatiier 
Corbelan, of your sainted uncle, Antonia. He has wrought a 
miracle in die heart of a most merciless robber. A miracle!" 

She raised her voice gradually up to a scream as she was borne 
along by die pressure of people getting out of the way of some 
carts coming up out of the ford at a gallop, with loud yells and 
cracking of whips. Great masses of sparks mingled with black 
smoke flew over die road; die bamboos of die walls detonated in 
die fire with die sound of an irregular fusillade. And dien the 
bright blaze sank suddenly, leaving only a red dusk crowded with 
aimless dark shadows drifting in contrary directions; die noise of 
voices seemed to die away with die flame; and die tumult of heads, 
arms, quarrelling and imprecations passed on fleeing into the 



darkness. 

"I must leave you now." repeated Charles Gould to Antonia. 
She turned her head slowly and uncovered her face. The emissary 
and compadre of Hernandez pushed his horse close up. 

"Has not tire master of tire mine any message to send to 
Hernandez, tire master of die Campo?" 

The trutii of die comparison struck Charles Gould heavily. In 
his determined purpose he held die mine, and die indomitahle 
handit held the Campo by die same precarious tenure. They were 
equals before die lawlessness of the land. It was impossible to 
disentangle one's activity from its debasing contacts. A close 
meshed net of crime and corruption lay upon die whole country. 
An immense and weary discouragement sealed his lips for a time. 

"You are a just man," urged die emissary of Hernandez. "Look 
at those people who made my compadre a general and have 
turned us all into soldiers. Look at diose oligarchs fleeing for life 
with only die clodies on their backs. My compadre does not diink 
of diat, but our followers may be wondering gready, and I would 
speak for them to you. Look, senor! For many mondis now the 
Campo has been our own. We need ask no man for anything; but 
soldiers must have dieir pay to live honesdy when the wars are 
over. It is believed that your soul is so just diat a prayer from you 
would cure die sickness of every beast, like die oration of die 
upright judge. Let me have some words from your lips diat would 
act like a charm upon die doubts of our partida, where all are 
men." 

"Do you hear what he says?" Charles Gould said, in English, 
to Antonia. 

"Forgive us our misery!" she exclaimed, hurriedly. "It is your 
character diat is die inexhaustible treasure which may save us all 
yet— your character, Carlos, not your wealdi. I entreat you to give 
this man your word diat you will accept any arrangement my uncle 
may make with dieir chief. One word. He will want no more." 

On die site of die roadside hut diere remained nodiing but an 
enormous heap of embers, throwing afar a darkening red glow, in 
which Antonia's face appeared deeply flushed with excitement. 
Charles Gould, with only a short hesitation, pronounced the 
required pledge. He was like a man who had ventured on a 
precipitous padi with no room to turn, where die only chance of 
safety is to press forward. At diat moment he understood it 
thoroughly as he looked down at Don Jose, stretched out, hardly 
breadiing, by die side of the erect Antonia, vanquished in a lifelong 
struggle widi die powers of moral darkness, whose stagnant depdis 
breed monstrous crimes and monstrous illusions. In a few words 
die emissary from Hernandez expressed his complete satisfaction. 
Stoically, Antonia lowered her veil, resisting die longing to inquire 
about Decoud's escape. But Ignacio leered morosely over his 



shoulder. 

"Take a good look at die mules, mi amo," he grumbled. "You 
shall never see diem again." 



IV 



CHARLES GOULD turned towards die town. Before him the 
jagged peaks of die Sierra came out all black in die clear dawn. 
Here and diere a muffled lepero whisked round die corner of a 
grass-grown street before die ringing hoofs of his horse. Dogs 
harked behind die walls of die gardens; and widi the colorless light 
die chill of die snows seemed to fall from die mountains upon die 
disjointed pavements and die shuttered houses, widi broken 
cornices and the plaster peeling in patches between the flat 
pilasters of die fronts. The daybreak struggled widi the gloom 
under die arcades on die plaza, widi no signs of country people 
disposing dieir goods for die day's market— piles of fruit, bundles 
of vegetables ornamented widi flowers, on low benches under 
enormous mat umbrellas— widi no cheery early morning husde of 
villagers, women, children, and loaded donkeys. Only a few 
scattered knots of revolutionists stood in die vast space looking all 
one way from under dieir slouched hats for some sign of news 
from Rincon. The largest of those groups turned about like one 
man as Charles Gould passed, and shouted, "Viva la libertad!" 
after him in a menacing tone. 

Charles Gould rode on and turned into die archway of his 
house. In die patio, littered widi straw, a practicante, one of Dr. 
Monygham's native assistants, sat on die ground widi his back 
against die rim of die fountain fingering a guitar discreetiy, while 
two girls of die lower class, standing up before him, shuffled dieir 
feet a littie and waved dieir arms, humming a popular dance tune. 
Most of die wounded during die two days of rioting had been 
taken away already by dieir friends and relations, but several 
figures could be seen sitting up, balancing dieir bandaged heads in 
time to die music. Charles Gould dismounted. A sleepy mozo 
coming out of die bakery door took hold of the horse's bridle; the 
practicante endeavored to conceal his guitar hastily; die girls, 
unabashed, stepped back smiling; and Charles Gould, on his way 
to die staircase, glanced into a dark corner of die patio at anodier 
group, a mortally wounded cargador widi a woman kneeling by his 
side. She mumbled prayers rapidly, trying at the same time to 
force a piece of orange between die stiffening lips of die dying 
man. 

The cruel futility of tilings stood unveiled in die levity and 
sufferings of that incorrigible people; the cruel futility of lives and 
of deadis thrown away in die vain endeavor to attain an enduring 



solution of die problem. Unlike Decoud, Charles Gould could not 
play lightly a part in a tragic farce. It was tragic enough for him, in 
all conscience, but he could see no farcical element. He suffered 
too much under a conviction of irremediable folly. He was too 
severely practical and too idealistic to look upon its terrible 
humors with amusement, as Martin Decoud, the imaginative 
materialist, was able to do in the dry light of his scepticism. To 
him, as to all of us, the compromises with his conscience appeared 
uglier than ever in the light of failure. His taciturnity, assumed with 
a purpose, had prevented him from tampering openly with his 
thoughts, but the Gould Concession had insidiously corrupted his 
judgment. He might have known, he said to himself, leaning over 
the balustrade of tire corridor, that Ribierism could never conre to 
anything. The nrine had corrupted his judgment by making him 
sick of bribing and intriguing merely to have his work left alone 
from day to day. Like his father, he did not like to be robbed. It 
exasperated him. He had persuaded himself that, apart from 
higher considerations, the backing up of Don Jose's hopes of 
reform was good business. He had gone forth into tire senseless 
fray like his poor uncle, whose sword hung on tire wall of his study, 
had gone forth— in tire defence of tire commonest decencies of 
organized society. Only, his weapon was the wealth of tire nrine, 
nrore far reaching and subtle than an honest blade of steel fitted 
into a sinrple brass guard. 

More dangerous to tire wielder, too, this weapon of wealth, 
double-edged with tire cupidity and misery of mankind, steeped in 
all tire vices of self-indulgence as in a concoction of poisonous 
roots, tainting tire very cause for which it is drawn, always ready to 
turn awkwardly in the hand. There was nothing for it now but to go 
on using it. But he pronrised himself to see it shattered into snrall 
bits before he let it be wrenched from his grasp. 

After all, with his English parentage and English upbringing, he 
perceived that he was an adventurer in Costaguana, tire descendant 
of adventurers enlisted in a foreign legion, of men who had sought 
fortune in a revolutionary war, who had planned revolutions, who 
had believed in revolutions. For all tire uprightness of his 
character, he had something of an adventurer's easy morality 
which takes count of personal risk in tire ethical appraising of his 
action. He was prepared, if need be, to blow up the whole San 
Tome mountain sky high out of tire territory of tire republic. This 
resolution expressed tire tenacity of his character, tire renrorse of 
that subtle conjugal infidelity through which his wife was no longer 
tire sole mistress of his droughts, something of his father's 
imaginative weakness, and something, too, of the spirit of a 
buccaneer throwing a lighted match into tire nragazine rather than 
surrender his ship. 

Down below, in tire patio, tire wounded cargador had breathed 



his last. The woman cried out once, and her cry, unexpected and 
shrill, made all the wounded sit up. The practicante scramhled to 
his feet and, guitar in hand, gazed steadily in her direction with 
elevated eyehrows. The two girls, sitting now one on each side of 
their wounded relative, with their knees drawn up and long cigars 
between their lips, nodded at each other significantly. 

Charles Gould, looking down over the balustrade, saw three 
men dressed ceremoniously in black frockcoats, with white shirts, 
and wearing European round hats, enter the patio from the street. 
One of them, head and shoulders taller than the two others, 
advanced with marked gravity, leading the way. This was Don Juste 
Lopez, accompanied by two of his friends, members of Assembly, 
coming to call upon the administrador of the San Tome mine at 
this early hour. They saw him, too, waved their hands to him 
urgently, walking up the stairs as if in procession. 

Don Juste, astonishingly changed by having shaved off 
altogether his damaged beard, had lost with it nine tenths of his 
outward dignity. Even at that time of serious preoccupation 
Charles Gould could not help noting the revealed ineptitude in the 
aspect of the man. His companions looked crestfallen and sleepy. 
One kept on passing the tip of his tongue over his parched lips, the 
other's eyes strayed dully over the tiled floor of the corridor, while 
Don Juste, standing a little in advance, harangued the Senor 
Administrador of the San Tome mine. It was his firm opinion that 
forms had to be observed. A new governor is always visited by 
deputations from the cabildo, which is the municipal council, from 
the consulado, the commercial board; and it was proper that the 
Provincial Assembly should send a deputation, too, if only to 
assert the existence of parliamentary institutions. Don Juste 
proposed that Don Carlos Gould, as the most prominent citizen of 
the province, should join the Assembly's deputation. His position 
was exceptional, his personality known through the length and 
breadth of the whole republic. Official courtesies must not be 
neglected, if they are gone through with a bleeding heart. The 
acceptance of accomplished facts may save yet the precious 
vestiges of parliamentary institutions. Don Juste's eyes glowed 
dully; he believed in parliamentary institutions— and the convinced 
drone of his voice lost itself in the stillness of the house, like the 
deep buzzing of some ponderous insect. 

Charles Gould had turned round to listen patiently, leaning his 
elbow on the balustrade. He shook his head a little, refusing, 
almost touched by the anxious gaze of the President of the 
Provincial Assembly. It was not Charles Gould's policy to make 
the San Tome mine a party to any formal proceedings. 

"My advice, senores, is that you should wait for your fate in 
your houses. There is no necessity for you to give yourselves up 
formally into Montero's hands. Submission to the inevitable, as 



Don Juste calls it, is all very well; but when the inevitable is called 
Pedrito Montero there is no need to exhibit pointedly the whole 
extent of your surrender. The fault of this country is die want of 
measure in political life. Flat acquiescence in illegality, followed by 
sanguinary reaction— that, senores, is not the way to a stable and 
prosperous future" 

Charles Gould stopped before the sad bewilderment of the 
faces, die wondering, anxious glances of die eyes. The feeling of 
pity for those men, putting all their trust into words of some sort, 
while murder and rapine stalked over die land, had betrayed him 
into what seemed empty loquacity. Don Juste murmured: "You 
are abandoning us, Don Carlos. . . . And yet, parliamentary 
institutions—" 

He could not finish from grief. For a moment he put his hand 
over his eyes. Charles Gould, in his fear of empty loquacity, made 
no answer to the charge. He returned in silence their ceremonious 
bows. His taciturnity was his refuge. He understood that what they 
sought was to get the influence of die San Tome mine on their 
side. They wanted to go on a conciliating errand to die victor, 
under tire wing of die Gould Concession. Other public bodies— tire 
cabildo, the consulado— would be coming, too, presently, seeking 
die support of die most stable, tire most effective force they had 
ever known to exist in their province. 

The doctor, arriving with his sharp, jerky walk, found that die 
master had retired into his own room with orders not to be 
disturbed on any account. But Dr. Monygham was not anxious to 
see Charles Gould at once. He spent some time in a rapid 
examination of his wounded. He gazed down upon each in turn, 
rubbing his chin between his thumb and forefinger; his steady stare 
met without expression their silently inquisitive look. All these 
cases were doing well; but when he came to die dead cargador he 
stopped a little longer, surveying not tire man who had ceased to 
suffer, but die woman kneeling in silent contemplation of die rigid 
face, with its pinched nostrils and a white gleam in tire imperfectly 
closed eyes. She lifted her head slowly and said, in a dull voice: 

"It is not long since he had become a cargador— only a few 
weeks. His worship tire capataz had accepted him after many 
entreaties." 

"I am not responsible for tire great capataz," muttered die 
doctor, moving off. 

Directing his course upstairs towards the door of Charles 
Gould's room, tire doctor at tire last moment hesitated; then, 
turning away from tire handle with a shrug of his uneven shoulders, 
slunk off hastily along tire corridor in search of Mrs. Gould's 
camerista. 

Leonarda told him that tire senora had not risen yet. The 
senora had given into her charge tire girls belonging to that Italian 



posadero. She, Leonarda, had put diem to bed in her own room. 
The fair girl had cried herself to sleep, but the dark one, die 
biggest, had not closed her eyes yet. She sat up in bed clutching die 
sheets right up under her chin and staring before her like a little 
witch. Leonarda did not approve of die Viola children being 
admitted to die house. She made diis feeling clear by die 
indifferent tone in which she inquired whether dieir modier was 
dead yet. As to die sehora, she must be asleep. Ever since she had 
gone into her room after seeing die departure of Doha Antonia 
widi her dying fadier, diere had been no sound behind her door. 

The doctor, rousing himself out of profound reflection, told 
her abrupdy to call her mistress at once. He hobbled off to wait for 
Mrs. Gould in the sala. He was very tired, but too excited to sit 
down. In this great drawing room, now empty, in which his 
widiered soul had been refreshed after many arid years and his 
outcast spirit had accepted silendy die toleration of many side 
glances, he wandered haphazard among die chairs and table, still 
Mrs. Gould, enveloped in a morning wrapper, came in rapidly. 

"You know diat I never approved of die silver being sent 
away," the doctor began at once, as a preliminary to die narrative 
of his night's adventures in association with Captain Mitchell, die 
engineer-in-chief, and old Viola at Sotillo's headquarters. To the 
doctor, widi his special conception of diis political crisis, die 
removal of die silver had seemed an irrational and ill-omened 
measure. It was as if a general were sending die best part of his 
troops away on the eve of battie upon some recondite pretext. The 
whole lot of ingots might have been concealed somewhere where 
they could have been got at for die purpose of staving off die 
dangers which were menacing die security of die Gould 
Concession. The administrador had acted as if die immense and 
powerful prosperity of die mine had been founded on mediods of 
probity, on die sense of usefulness. And it was nodiing of die kind. 
The mediod followed had been the only one possible. The Gould 
Concession had ransomed its way dirough all diose years. It was a 
nauseous process. He quite understood diat Charles Gould had 
got sick of it, and had left die old path to back up diat hopeless 
attempt at reform. The doctor did not believe in die reform of 
Costaguana. And now die mine was back again in its old path, widi 
the disadvantage diat hencefordi it had to deal not only widi die 
greed provoked by its w r ealdi, but widi die resentment awakened 
by die attempt to free itself from its bondage to moral corruption. 
That was die penalty of failure. What made him uneasy was diat 
Charles Gould seemed to him to have weakened at the decisive 
moment when a frank return to die old mediods was die only 
chance. Listening to Decoud's wild scheme had been a weakness. 

The doctor flung up his arms, exclaiming, "Decoud! Decoud!" 
He hobbled about die room widi slight, angry laughs. Many years 



ago both his ankles had been seriously damaged in die course of a 
certain investigation conducted in die castie of Sta. Marta by a 
commission composed of military men. Their nomination had 
been signified to them unexpectedly, at die dead of night, widi 
scowling brow, flashing eyes, and in a tempestuous voice, by 
Guzman Bento. The old tyrant, maddened by one of his sudden 
accesses of suspicion, mingled spluttering appeals to dieir fidelity 
widi imprecations and horrible menaces. The cells and casements 
of die castie on die hill had been already filled widi prisoners. The 
commission was charged now widi die task of discovering die 
iniquitous conspiracy against die Citizen Savior of his Country. 

Their dread of die raving tyrant translated itself into a hasty 
ferocity of procedure. The Citizen Savior was not accustomed to 
wait. A conspiracy had to be discovered. The courtyards of die 
castie resounded widi die clanking of leg irons, sounds of blows, 
yells of pain; and die commission of high officers labored 
feverishly, concealing dieir distress and apprehensions from each 
odier, and especially from dieir secretary, Fadier Beron, an army 
chaplain, at diat time very much in die confidence of die Citizen 
Savior. That priest was a big, round shouldered man, with an 
uncleandooking, overgrown tonsure on die top of his flat head, of 
a dingy, yellow complexion, softly fat, widi greasy stains all down 
die front of his lieutenant's uniform, and a small cross 
embroidered in white cotton on his left breast. He had a heavy 
nose and a pendent lip. Dr. Monygham remembered him still. He 
remembered him against all die force of his will striving its utmost 
to forget. Fadier Beron had been adjoined to die commission by 
Guzman Bento expressly for die purpose diat his enlightened zeal 
should assist diem in their labors. Dr. Monygham could by no 
manner of means forget die zeal of Fadier Beron, or his face, or 
die pitiless, monotonous voice in which he pronounced die words, 
"Will you confess now?" 

This memory did not make him shudder, but it had made of 
him what he was in die eyes of respectable people, a man careless 
of common decencies, somediing between a clever vagabond and 
a disreputable doctor. But not all respectable people would have 
had die necessary delicacy of sentiment to understand widi what 
trouble of mind and accuracy of vision Dr. Monygham, medical 
officer of die San Tome mine, remembered Fadier Beron, army 
chaplain, and once a secretary of a military commission. After all 
diese years Dr. Monygham, in his rooms at the end of die hospital 
building in the San Tome gorge, remembered Fadier Beron as 
distinctly as ever. He remembered diat priest at night, sometimes 
in his sleep. On such nights die doctor waited for daylight widi a 
candle lighted, and walking die whole lengdi of his two rooms to 
and fro, staring down at his bare feet, his arms hugging his sides 
tightly. He would dream of Fadier Beron sitting at die end of a 



long, black table, behind which, in a row, appeared die heads, 
shoulders, and epaulettes of die military members, nibbling die 
feather of a quill pen, and listening widi weary and impatient scorn 
to die protestations of some prisoner calling Heaven to witness of 
his innocence, till he burst out: "What's die use of wasting time 
over diat miserable nonsense! Let me take him outside for a 
while." And Father Beron would go outside after die clanking 
prisoner, led away between two soldiers. Such interludes happened 
on many days, many times, widi many prisoners. When die 
prisoner returned he was ready to make a full confession, Fadier 
Beron would declare, leaning forward widi diat dull, surfeited look 
which can be seen in die eyes of gluttonous persons after a heavy 
meal. 

The priest's inquisitorial instincts suffered but little from die 
want of classical apparatus of die inquisition. At no time of die 
world's history have men been at a loss how to inflict mental and 
bodily anguish upon dieir fellow creatures. This aptitude came to 
diem in die growing complexity of dieir passions and die early 
refinement of dieir ingenuity. But it may safely be said that 
primeval man did not go to die trouble of inventing tortures. He 
was indolent and pure of heart. He brained his neighbor 
ferociously widi a stone axe from necessity and widiout malice. 
The stupidest mind may invent a rankling phrase or brand die 
innocent widi a cruel aspersion. A piece of string and a ramrod, a 
few muskets in combination widi a lengdi of hide rope, or even a 
simple mallet of heavy, hard wood applied widi a swing to human 
fingers or to die joints of a human body, is enough for die 
infliction of die most exquisite torture. The doctor had been a very 
stubborn prisoner and, as a natural consequence of diat "bad 
disposition" (so Fadier Beron called it), his subjugation had been 
very crushing and very complete. That is why die limp in his walk, 
die twist of his shoulders, die scars on his cheeks were so 
pronounced. His confessions, when diey came at last, were very 
complete, too. Sometimes, on die nights when he walked die floor, 
he wondered, grinding his teedi widi shame and rage, at the 
fertility of his imagination when stimulated by a sort of pain which 
makes trudi, honor, self-respect, and life itself matters of little 
moment. 

And he could not forget Fadier Beron widi his monotonous 
phrase, "Will you confess now?" reaching him in an awful iteration 
and lucidity of meaning dirough die delirious incoherence of 
unbearable pain. He could not forget. But diat was not die worst. 
Had he met Fadier Beron in die street after all diese years, Dr. 
Monygham was sure he would have quailed before him. This 
contingency was not to be feared now. Father Beron was dead; but 
die sickening certitude prevented Dr. Monygham from looking 
anybody in die face. 



Dr. Monygham had become, in a manner, the slave of a ghost. 
It was obviously impossible to take his knowledge of Father Beron 
home to Europe. When making his extorted confessions to the 
military board Dr. Monygham was not seeking to avoid death. He 
longed for it. Sitting half-naked for hours on the wet earth of his 
prison, and so motionless that the spiders, his companions, 
attached their webs to his matted hair, he consoled the misery of 
his soul with acute reasonings that he had confessed to crimes 
enough for a sentence of death— that they had gone too far with 
him to let him live to tell the tale. 

But, as if by a refinement of cruelty, Dr. Monygham was left 
for months to decay slowly in the darkness of his grave -like prison. 
It was no doubt hoped that it would finish him off without the 
trouble of an execution; but Dr. Monygham had an iron 
constitution. It was Guzman Bento who died, not by the knife 
thrust of a conspirator, but from a stroke of apoplexy, and Dr. 
Monygham was liberated hastily. His fetters were struck off by the 
light of a candle, which, after months of gloom, hurt his eyes so 
much that he had to cover his face with his hands. He was raised 
up. His heart was beating violently with the fear of this liberty. 
When he tried to walk the extraordinary lightness of his feet made 
him giddy, and he fell down. Two sticks were thrust into his hands, 
and he was pushed out of the passage. It was dusk, candles 
glimmered already in the windows of the officers' quarters round 
the courtyard, but the twilight sky dazed him by its enormous and 
overwhelming brilliance. A thin poncho hung over his naked, bony 
shoulders; the rags of his trousers came down no lower than his 
knees; an eighteen months' growth of hair fell in dirty gray locks 
on each side of his sharp cheekbones. As he dragged himself past 
the guard room door one of the soldiers, lolling outside, moved by 
some obscure impulse, leaped forward with a strange laugh and 
rammed a broken old straw hat on his head. And Dr. Monygham, 
after having tottered, continued on his way. He advanced one 
stick, then one maimed foot, then the other stick; the other foot 
followed only a very short distance along the ground, toilfully, as 
though it were almost too heavy to be moved at all; and yet his 
legs, under the hanging angles of the poncho, appeared no thicker 
than the two sticks in his hands. A ceaseless trembling agitated his 
bent body, all his wasted limbs, his bony head, the conical, ragged 
crown of the sombrero whose ample, flat rim rested on his 
shoulders. 

In such conditions of manner and attire did Dr. Monygham go 
forth to take possession of his liberty. And these conditions 
seemed to bind him indissolubly to the land of Costaguana like an 
awful procedure of naturalization, involving him deep in the 
national life, far deeper than any amount of success and honor 
could have done. They did away with his Europeanism; for Dr. 



Monygham had made for himself an ideal conception of his 
disgrace. It was a conception eminently fit and proper for an 
officer and a gentleman. Dr. Monygham, hefore he went out to 
Costaguana, had heen surgeon in one of her Majesty's regiments of 
foot. It was a conception which took no account of physiological 
facts or reasonahle arguments. But it was not stupid for all that. It 
was simple. A rule of conduct resting mainly on severe rejections is 
necessarily simple. Dr. Monygham's view of what it hehooved him 
to do was severe; it was an ideal view insomuch that it was the 
imaginative exaggeration of a correct feeling. It was also, in its 
force, influence, and persistency, the view of an eminently loyal 
nature. 

There was a great fund of loyalty in Dr. Monygham's nature. 
He had settled it all on Mrs. Gould's head. He helieved her 
worthy of every devotion. At the hottom of his heart he felt an 
angry uneasiness hefore the prosperity of the San Tome mine, 
hecause its growth was rohhing her of all peace of mind. 
Costaguana was no place for a woman of that kind. What could 
Charles Gould have heen drinking of when he hrought her out 
there? It was outrageous! And tire doctor had watched the course 
of events with a grinr and distant reserve which, he inragined, his 
lamentahle history inrposed upon him. 

Loyalty to Mrs. Gould could not, however, leave out of 
account tire safety of her hushand. The doctor had contrived to he 
in town at tire critical time hecause he mistrusted Charles Could. 
He considered him hopelessly infected with tire madness of 
revolutions. That is why he hohhled in distress in tire drawing 
roonr of tire Casa Gould on that nrorning, exclaiming, "Decoud! 
Decoud!" in a tone of nrournful irritation. 

Mrs. Gould, her color heightened and with glistening eyes, 
looked straight hefore her at tire sudden enormity of that disaster. 
The fingertips of one hand rested lightly on a low little table by her 
side, and tire arnr trembled right up to the shoulder. The sun, 
which looks late upon Sulaco, issuing in all tire fullness of its power 
high up on tire sky from behind tire dazzling snow edge of 
Higuerota, had precipitated the delicate, smooth, pearly grayness 
of light, in which tire town lies steeped during tire early hours, into 
sharp-cut masses of black shade and spaces of hot, blinding glare. 
Three long rectangles of sunshine fell through tire windows of tire 
sala, while just across tire street tire front of tire Avellanos house 
appeared very sonrhre in its own shadow seen through tire flood of 
light. 

A voice said at tire door, "What of Decoud?" 

It was Charles Gould. They had not heard him conring along 
tire corridor. His glance just glided over his wife and struck full at 
tire doctor. 

"You have hrought sonre news, doctor?" 



Dr Monygham blurted it all out at once, in the rough. For 
some time after he had done the administrador of the San Tome 
mine remained looking at him without a word. Mrs. Gould sank 
into a low chair with her hands lying on her lap. A silence reigned 
between those three motionless persons. Then Charles Gould 
spoke: 

"You must want some breakfast." 

He stood aside to let his wife pass first. She caught up her 
husband's hand and pressed it as she went out, raising the 
handkerchief to her eyes. The sight of her husband had brought 
Antonia's position to her mind, and she could not contain her 
tears at the I thought of the poor girl. When she rejoined the two 
men in the dining room after having bathed her face, Charles 
Gould was saying to the doctor across the table: 

"No; there does not seem any room for doubt." 

And die doctor assented: 

"No, I don't see myself how we could question that wretched 
Hirsch's tale. It's only too true, I fear." 

She sat down desolately at the head of the table and looked 
from one to the other. The two men, without absolutely turning 
their heads away, tried to avoid her glance. The doctor even made 
a show of being hungry. He seized his knife and fork and began to 
eat with emphasis, as if on the stage. Charles Gould made no 
pretence of the sort; with his elbows raised squarely he twisted 
both ends of his flaming mustaches— they were so long that his 
hands were quite away from his face. 

"I am not surprised," he muttered, abandoning his mustaches 
and throwing one arm over the back of his chair. His face was 
calm with that immobility of expression which betrays the intensity 
of a mental struggle. He felt that this accident had brought to a 
point all the consequences involved in his line of conduct, with its 
conscious and subconscious intentions. There must be an end now 
of this silent reserve, of that air of impenetrability behind which he 
had been safeguarding his dignity. It was the least ignoble form of 
dissembling forced upon him by that parody of civilized 
institutions which offended his intelligence, his uprightness, and 
his sense of right. He was like his father. He had no ironic eye. He 
was not amused at the absurdities that prevail in this world. They 
hurt him in his innate gravity. He felt that the miserable death of 
that poor Decoud took from him his inaccessible position of a 
force in the background. It committed him openly unless he 
wished to throw up the game; and that was impossible. The 
material interests required from him the sacrifice of his aloofness— 
perhaps his own safety, too. And he reflected that Decoud's 
separationist plan had not gone to the bottom with the lost silver. 

The only tiling that was not changed was his position towards 
Mr. Holroyd. The head of the silver and steel interests had 



entered into Costaguana affairs with a sort of passion. Costaguana 
had hecome necessary to his existence; in the San Tome mine he 
had found the imaginative satisfaction which odier minds would 
get from drama, from art, or from a risky and fascinating sport. It 
was a special form of the great man's extravagance, sanctioned hy a 
moral intention hig enough to flatter his vanity. Even in this 
aherration of his genius he served tire progress of die world. 
Charles Gould felt sure of heing understood widi precision and 
judged widi die indulgence of dieir common passion. Nodiing now 
could surprise or starde his great man. And Charles Gould 
imagined himself writing a letter to San Francisco in some such 
words: "... The men at die head of die movement are dead or 
have fled; die civil organization of the province is at an end for die 
present; die Blanco party in Sulaco has collapsed inexcusahly, but 
in die characteristic manner of this country. But Barrios, 
untouched in Cayta, remains still available. I am forced to take up 
openly die plan of a provincial revolution as die only way of 
placing die enormous material interests involved in die prosperity 
and peace of Sulaco in a position of permanent safety. ..." That 
was clear. He saw diese words as if written in letters of fire upon 
the wall at which he was gazing abstractedly. 

Mrs. Gould watched his abstraction widi dread. It was a 
domestic and frightful phenomenon diat darkened and chilled die 
house for her like a diundercloud passing over the sun. Charles 
Gould's fits of abstraction depicted die energetic concentration of 
a will haunted by a fixed idea. A man haunted by a fixed idea is 
insane. He is dangerous even if diat idea is an idea of justice; for 
may he not bring die heaven down pitilessly upon a loved head? 
The eyes of Mrs. Gould, watching her husband's profile, filled 
widi tears again. And again she seemed to see the despair of die 
unfortunate Antonia. 

"What would I have done if Charley had been drowned while 
we were engaged!" she exclaimed mentally, widi horror. Her heart 
turned to ice while her cheeks flamed up as if scorched by the 
blaze of a funeral pyre consuming all her eardily affections. The 
tears burst out of her eyes. 

"Antonia will kill herself!" she cried out. 

This cry fell into die silence of the room widi strangely little 
effect. Only die doctor, crumbling up a piece of bread, widi his 
head inclined on one side, raised his face, and die few long hairs 
sticking out of his shaggy eyebrows stirred in a slight frown. Dr. 
Monygham diought quite sincerely diat Decoud was a singularly 
unwordiy object for any woman's affection. Then he lowered his 
head again, widi a curl of his lip and his heart full of tender 
admiration for Mrs. Gould. 

"She diinks of that girl," he said to himself; "she diinks of die 
Viola children, she diinks of me, of die wounded, of die miners— 



she always thinks of everybody who is poor and miserable! But 
what will she do if Charles gets the worst of it in this infernal 
scrimmage those confounded Avellanos have drawn him into? No 
one seems to be diinking of her." 

Charles Gould, staring at die wall, pursued his reflections 
subtly. 

"I shall write to Holroyd that die San Tome mine is big 
enough to take in hand die making of a new state. It'll please him. 
It'll reconcile him to the risk." 

But was Barrios really available? Perhaps. But he was 
inaccessible. To send off a boat to Cayta was no longer possible, 
since Sotillo was master of die harbor and had a steamer at his 
disposal. And now, with all die democrats in the province up and 
every Campo township in a state of disturbance, where could he 
find a man who would make his way successfully overland to Cayta 
with a message, a ten days' ride at least— a man of courage and 
resolution who would avoid arrest or murder, and if arrested 
would faithfully eat die paper? The capataz de cargadores would 
have been just such a man. But die capataz of die cargadores was 
no more. 

And Charles Gould, withdrawing his eyes from the wall, said, 
gendy: "That Hirsch! What an extraordinary tiling! Saved himself 
by clinging to die anchor, did he? I had no idea that he was still in 
Sulaco. I thought he had gone back overland to Esmeralda more 
than a week ago. He came here once to talk to me about his hide 
business and some other tilings. I made it clear to him that nothing 
could be done." 

"He was afraid to start back on account of Hernandez being 
about," remarked die doctor. 

"And but for him we might not have known anything of what 
has happened," marveled Charles Gould. 

Mrs. Gould cried out: 

"Antonia must not know! She must not be told. Not now." 

"Nobody's likely to carry die news," remarked die doctor. "It's 
no one's interest. Moreover, die people here are afraid of 
Hernandez as if he were die devil." He turned to Charles Gould. 
"It's even awkward, because if you wanted to communicate with 
the refugees you could find no messenger. When Hernandez was 
ranging hundreds of miles away from here die Sulaco populace 
used to shudder at die tales of him roasting his prisoners alive." 

"Yes," murmured Charles Gould, "Captain Mitchell's capataz 
was the only man in the town who had seen Hernandez eye to eye. 
Fadier Corbelan employed him. He opened die communications 
first, It is a pity that— " 

His voice was covered by die booming of die great bell of die 
cathedral. Three single strokes, one after another, burst out 
explosively, dying away in deep and mellow vibrations. And then 



Jill the bells in the tower of every church, convent, or chapel in 
town, even those that had remained shut up for years, pealed out 
togedier widi a crash. In this furious flood of metallic uproar diere 
was a power of suggesting images of strife and violence which 
blanched Mrs. Gould's cheek. Basilio, who had been waiting at 
table shrinking within himself, clung to the sideboard with 
chattering teeth. It was impossible to hear yourself speak. 

"Shut these windows!" Charles Gould yelled at him, angrily. 
All the other servants, terrified at what they took for the signal of a 
general massacre, had rushed upstairs, tumbling over each other, 
men and women, the obscure and generally invisible population of 
the ground floor on the four sides of the patio. The women 
screaming "Misericordia!" ran right into the room, and, falling on 
their knees against the walls, began to cross themselves 
convulsively. The staring heads of men blocked the doorway in an 
instant— mozos from the stable, gardeners, nondescript helpers 
living on the crumbs of the munificent house— and Charles Gould 
beheld all the extent of his domestic establishment even to the 
gatekeeper. This was a half-paralyzed old man, whose long, white 
locks fell down to his shoulders— an heirloom taken up by Charles 
Gould's familial piety. He could remember Henry Gould, an 
Englishman and Costaguanero of the second generation, chief of 
the Sulaco province; he had been his personal mozo years and 
years ago, in peace and war; had been allowed to attend his master 
in prison; had on the fatal morning followed the firing squad, and, 
peeping from behind one of the cypresses growing along the wall 
of the Franciscan convent, had seen, with his eyes starting out of 
his head, Don Enrique throw up his hands and fall with his face in 
the dust. Charles Gould noted particularly the big, patriarchal head 
of that witness in the rear of the other servants. But he was 
surprised to see a shriveled old hag or two of whose existence 
within the walls of his house he had not been aware. They must 
have been die mothers or even the grandmothers of some of his 
people. There were a few children, too, more or less naked, crying 
and clinging to die legs of their elders. He had never before 
noticed any sign of a child in his patio. Even Leonarda, the 
camerista, came in a fright, pushing dirough, with her spoiled, 
pouting face of a favorite maid, leading die Viola girls by die hand. 
The crockery ratded on table and sideboard, and die whole house 
seemed to sway in die deafening wave of sound. 



V 



DURING die night die expectant populace had taken possession 
of all die belfries in the town in order to welcome Pedrito 
Montero, who was making his entry after having slept die night in 



Rincon. And first came straggling in through the land gate die 
armed mob, of all colors, complexions, types, and states of 
raggedness, calling themselves die Sulaco National Guard, and 
commanded by Sehor Gamacho. Through die middle of die street 
streamed, like a torrent of rubbish, a mass of straw hats, ponchos, 
gun barrels, with an enormous green-and-yellow flag flapping in 
dieir midst, in a cloud of dust, to die furious beating of drums. 
The spectators recoiled against the walls of die houses, shouting 
dieir vivas! Behind die rabble could be seen die lances of die 
cavalry, die "army" of Pedro Montero. He advanced between 
Seiiores Fuentes and Gamacho, at die head of his Llaneros, who 
had accomplished the feat of crossing die paramos of die 
Higuerota in a snowstorm. They rode four abreast, mounted on 
confiscated Campo horses, clad in die heterogeneous stock of 
roadside stores tiiey had looted hurriedly in dieir rapid ride 
through die northern part of die province; for Pedro Montero had 
been in a great hurry to occupy Sulaco. The handkerchiefs knotted 
loosely around dieir bare diroats were glaringly new, and all die 
right sleeves of dieir cotton shirts had been cut off close to the 
shoulder for greater freedom in throwing die lazo. Emaciated 
graybeards rode by die side of lean, dark youdis, marked by all die 
hardships of campaigning, widi strips of raw beef twined round die 
crowns of their hats and huge iron spurs fastened to dieir naked 
heels. Those that in the passes of die mountain had lost dieir 
lances had provided themselves with die goads used by die Campo 
catdemen— slender shafts of palm fully ten feet long, with a lot of 
loose rings jingling under die iron-shod point. They were armed 
with knives and revolvers. A haggard fearlessness characterized die 
expression of all diese sun-blacked countenances; they glared 
down haughtily with dieir scorched eyes at die crowd, or, blinking 
upward insolendy, pointed out to each odier some particular head 
among die women at die windows. When tiiey had ridden into die 
Plaza and caught sight of die equestrian statue of die king 
dazzlingly white in die sunshine, towering enormous and 
motionless above the surges of the crowd, with its eternal gesture 
of saluting, a murmur of surprise ran dirough dieir ranks. "What is 
diat saint in die big hat?" tiiey asked each odier. 

They were a good sample of die cavalry of die plains with 
which Pedro Montero had helped so much die victorious career of 
his brodier die general. The influence which that man, brought up 
in coast towns, acquired in a short time over die plainsmen of die 
republic can be ascribed only to a genius for treachery of so 
effective a kind diat it must have appeared to those violent men, 
but littie removed from a state of utter savagery, as the perfection 
of sagacity and \irtue. The popular lore of all nations testifies diat 
duplicity and cunning, togedier with bodily strength, were looked 
upon, even more dian courage, as heroic virtues by primitive 



mankind. To overcome your adversary was die great affair of life. 
Courage was taken for granted. But die use of intelligence 
awakened wonder and respect. Stratagems, providing diey did not 
fail, were honorable; die easy massacre of an unsuspecting enemy 
evoked no feelings but diose of gladness, pride, and admiration. 
Not, perhaps, that primitive men were more faithless than dieir 
descendants of today, but that diey went straighter to their aim and 
were more artless in their recognition of success as die only 
standard of morality. 

We have changed since. The use of intelligence awakens little 
wonder and less respect. But die ignorant and barbarous 
plainsmen engaging in civil strife followed willingly a leader who 
often managed to deliver dieir enemies bound, as it were, into 
dieir hands. Pedro Montero had a talent for lulling his adversaries 
into a sense of security. And as men learn wisdom with extreme 
slowness, and are always ready to believe promises diat flatter dieir 
secret hopes, Pedro Montero was successful time after time. 
Whether only a servant or some inferior official in die Costaguana 
legation in Paris, he had rushed back to his country directly he 
heard diat his brodier had emerged from the obscurity of his 
frontier comandancia. He had managed to deceive by his gift of 
plausibility die chiefs of die Ribierist movement in die capital, and 
even die acute agent of die San Tome mine had failed to 
understand him dioroughly. At once he had obtained an 
enormous influence over his brodier. They were very much alike 
in appearance, bodi bald, with bunches of crisp hair above dieir 
ears, arguing die presence of some negro blood. Only Pedro was 
smaller dian die general, more delicate altogedier, with an apelike 
faculty for imitating all die outward signs of refinement and 
distinction, and with a parrotdike talent for languages. Both 
brodiers had received some elementary instruction by die 
munificence of a great European traveler, to whom dieir fadier had 
been a body servant during his journeys in the interior of die 
country. In General Montero 's case it enabled him to rise from die 
ranks. Pedrito, die younger, incorrigibly lazy and slovenly, had 
drifted aimlessly from one coast town to anodier, hanging about 
counting houses, attaching himself to strangers as a sort of valet-de- 
place, picking up an easy and disreputable living. His ability to 
read did nodiing for him but fill his head with absurd visions. His 
actions were usually determined by motives so improbable in 
diemselves as to escape die penetration of a rational person. 

Thus, at first, die agent of die Gould Concession in Sta. Marta 
had credited him with die possession of sane views, and even with 
a restraining power over the general's everlastingly discontented 
vanity. It could never have entered his head diat Pedrito Montero, 
lackey or inferior scribe, lodged in the garrets of die various 
Parisian hotels where die Costaguana legation used to shelter its 



diplomatic dignity, had been devouring die lighter sort of historical 
works in die French language, such, for instance, as die books of 
Inibert de Saint Aniand upon die Second Empire. But Pedrito 
had been struck by die splendor of a brilliant court, and had 
conceived die idea of an existence for himself where, like die Due 
de Morny, he would associate die command of every pleasure 
widi die conduct of political affairs and enjoy power supremely in 
every way. Nobody could have guessed diat. And yet, diis was one 
of die immediate causes of die Monterist revolution. This will 
appear less incredible by die reflection diat die fundamental causes 
were the same as ever, rooted in die political immaturity of the 
people, in die indolence of die upper classes and die mental 
darkness of die lower. 

Pedrito Montero saw, in die elevation of his brodier, die road 
wide open to his wildest imaginings. This was what made die 
Monterist pronunciamiento so unpre veritable. The general himself 
probably could have been bought off, pacified widi flatteries, 
despatched on a diplomatic mission to Europe. It was his brodier 
who had egged him on from first to last. He wanted to become die 
most brilliant statesman of Soudi America. He did not desire 
supreme power. He would have been afraid of its labor and risk, 
in fact. Before all, Pedrito Montero, taught by his European 
experience, meant to acquire a serious fortune for himself. Widi 
diis object in view he obtained from his brodier, on die very 
morrow of die successful battie, die permission to push on over 
the mountains and take possession of Sulaco. Sulaco was die land 
of future prosperity, die chosen land of material progress, die only 
province in die republic of interest to European capitalists. Pedrito 
Montero, following die example of die Due de Morny, meant to 
have his share of diis prosperity. This is what he meant literally. 
Now his brodier was master of die country, whedier as President, 
Dictator, or even as Emperor— why not as an Emperor?— he meant 
to demand a share in every enterprise— in railways, in mines, in 
sugar estates, in cotton mills, in land companies, in each and every 
undertaking— as die price of his protection. The desire to be on die 
spot early was die real cause of die celebrated ride over die 
mountains widi some two hundred Llaneros, an enterprise of 
which die dangers had not appeared at first clearly to his 
impatience. Coming from a series of victories, it seemed to him 
that a Montero had only to appear to be master of die situation. 
This illusion had betrayed him into a rashness of which he was 
becoming aware. As he rode at the head of his Llaneros he 
regretted diat diere were so few of diem. The endiusiasm of the 
populace reassured him. They yelled "Viva Montero!" "Viva 
Pedrito!" In order to make diem still more endiusiastic, and from 
the natural pleasure he had in dissembling, he dropped die reins 
on his horse's neck, and widi a tremendous effect of familiarity 



and confidence slipped his hands under die arms of Sehores 
Fuentes and Gamacho. In diat posture, widi a ragged town mozo 
holding his horse by dre hridle, he rode triumphandy across the 
Plaza to die door of the Intendencia. Its old, gloomy walls seemed 
to shake in the acclamations diat rent die air and covered the 
crashing peals of die cadiedral hells. 

Pedro Montero, die hrodier of die general, dismounted into a 
shouting and perspiring dirong of enthusiasts whom die ragged 
Nationals were pushing hack fiercely. Ascending a few steps, he 
surveyed die large crowd gaping at him and die hullet-speckled 
walls of die houses opposite lightly veiled hy a sunny haze of dust. 
The word "PORVENIR," in immense hlack capitals, alternating 
widi broken windows, stared at him across the vast space; and he 
diought widi delight of die hour of vengeance, because he was very 
sure of laying his hands upon Decoud. On his left hand, 
Gamacho, big and hot, wiping his hairy, wet face, uncovered a set 
of yellow fangs in a grin of stupid hilarity. On his right, Seiior 
Fuentes, small and lean, looked on widi compressed lips. The 
crowd stared literally openmoudied, lost in eager stillness, as 
diough they had expected die great guerrillero, die famous 
Pedrito, to begin scattering at once some sort of visible largesse. 
What he began was a speech. He began it widi die shouted word 
"Citizens!" which reached even those in die middle of die Plaza. 
Afterwards die greater part of die citizens remained fascinated by 
die orator's action alone— his tiptoeing, the arms flung above his 
head widi die fists clinched; a hand laid flat upon die heart; the 
silver gleam of rolling eyes; die sweeping, pointing, embracing 
gestures; a hand laid familiarly on Gamacho's shoulder; a hand 
waved formally towards die littie, black-coated person of Seiior 
Fuentes, advocate and politician and a true friend of die people. 
The vivas of those nearest to die orator, bursting out suddenly, 
propagated themselves irregularly to die confines of die crowd, like 
flames running over dry grass, and expired in die opening of die 
streets. In die intervals, over die swarming Plaza brooded a heavy 
silence, in which die moudi of die orator went on opening and 
shutting, and detached phrases— "The happiness of die people," 
"Sons of die country," "The entire world" (el mundo entiero)— 
reached even die packed steps of die cathedral widi a feeble, clear 
ring, diin as die buzzing of a mosquito. But die orator struck his 
breast; he seemed to prance between his two supporters. It was the 
supreme effort of his peroration. Then die two smaller figures 
disappeared from the public gaze, and die enormous Gamacho, 
left alone, advanced, raising his hat high above his head. Then he 
covered himself proudly and yelled out, "Ciudadanos!" A dull roar 
greeted Seiior Gamacho, ex-peddler of die Campo, Comandante 
of the National Guards. 

Upstairs, Pedrito Montero walked about rapidly from one 



wrecked room of die Intendencia to anodier, snarling incessandy: 

"What stupidity! What destruction!" 

Sefior Fuentes, following, would relax his taciturn disposition 
to murmur: 

"It is all tire work of Gamacho and his Nationals;" and dien, 
inclining his head on his left shoulder, would press togedier his lips 
so firmly that a little hollow would appear at each corner. He had 
his nomination for Political Chief of die town in his pocket and 
was all impatience to enter upon his functions. 

In die long audience room, with its tall mirrors all starred hy 
stones, die hangings torn down and die canopy over die platform 
at die upper end pulled to pieces, die vast, deep muttering of die 
crowd and die howling voice of Gamacho, speaking just helow, 
reached diem dirough die shutters as diey stood idly in dimness 
and desolation. 

"The hrute!" ohserved his Excellency Don Pedro Montero 
dirough clinched teedi. "We must contrive as quickly as possihle 
to send him and his Nationals out diere to fight Hernandez." 

The new Gefe Politico only jerked his head sideways and took 
a puff at his cigarette, in sign of his agreement with diis mediod for 
ridding the town of Gamacho and his inconvenient rahhle. 

Pedrito Montero looked with disgust at the absolutely bare 
floor and at die belt of heavy gilt picture frames running round die 
room, out of which die remnants of torn and slashed canvases 
fluttered like dingy rag: 

"We are not barbarians," he said. 

This was what said his Excellency, die popular Pedrito, the 
guerrillero skilled in die art of laying ambushes, charged by his 
brodier at his own demand with die organization of Sulaco on 
democratic principles. The night before, during the consultation 
with his partisans, who had come out to meet him in Rincon, he 
had opened his intentions to Senor Fuentes: 

"We shall organize a popular vote, by yes or no, confiding die 
destinies of our beloved country to die wisdom and valiance of my 
heroic brodier, die invincible general. A plebiscite. Do you 
understand?" 

And Senor Fuentes, puffing out his leadieiy cheeks, had 
inclined his head slighdy to die left, letting a diin, bluish jet of 
smoke escape dirough his pursed lips. He had understood. 

His Excellency was exasperated at die devastation. Not a single 
chair, table, sofa, etagere, or console had been left in die state 
rooms of die Intendencia. His Excellency, diough twitching all 
over widi rage, was restrained from bursting into violence by a 
sense of his remoteness and isolation. His heroic brodier was very 
far away. Meantime, how was he going to take his siesta? He had 
expected to find comfort and luxury in die Intendencia after a year 
of hard camp life, ending with die hardships and privations of die 



daring dash upon Sulaco— upon die province which was worth 
more in wealdi and influence than all the rest of the republic's 
territory. He would get even widi Gamacho by and by. And Sehor 
Gamacho's oration, delectable to popular ears, went on in the heat 
and glare of the Plaza like the uncouth howlings of an inferior sort 
of devil cast into a white-hot furnace. Every moment he had to 
wipe his streaming face with his bare forearm; he had flung off his 
coat and had turned up tire sleeves of his shirt high above the 
elbows, but he kept on his head tire large cocked hat with white 
plumes. His ingenuousness cherished this sign of his rank as 
Comandante of tire National Guards. Approving and grave 
murmurs greeted his periods. His opinion was that war should be 
declared at once against France, England, Germany, and the 
United States, who, by introducing railways, mining enterprises, 
colonization, and under such other shallow pretences aimed at 
robbing poor people of their lands, and, with the help of these 
Goths and paralytics, the aristocrats, would convert diem into 
toiling and miserable slaves. And die leperos, flinging about die 
corners of their dirty white mantas, yelled their approbation. 
General Montero, Gamacho howled with conviction, was die only 
man equal to die patriotic task. They assented to that, too. 

The morning was wearing on; there were already signs of 
disruption, currents and eddies in die crowd. Some were seeking 
die shade of die walls and under die trees of die Alameda. 
Horsemen spurred through, shouting; groups of sombreros, set 
level on heads against die vertical sun, were drifting away into the 
streets, where die open doors of pulperias revealed an enticing 
gloom resounding with the gentle tinkling of guitars. The National 
Guards were thinking of siesta, and die eloquence of Gamacho, 
their chief, was exhausted. Later on, when in die cooler hours of 
die afternoon they tried to assemble again for further 
consideration of public affairs, detachments of Montero's cavalry 
camped on the Alameda charged them without parley, at speed, 
with long lances leveled at their flying backs, as far as die ends of 
die streets. The National Guards of Sulaco were surprised by this 
proceeding, but tiiey were not indignant. No Costaguanero had 
ever learned to question die eccentricities of a military force. They 
were part of die natural order of tilings. This must be, tiiey 
concluded, some kind of administrative measure, no doubt. But 
the motive of it escaped dieir unaided intelligence, and dieir chief 
and orator, Gamacho, Comandante of die National Guard, was 
lying drunk and asleep in die bosom of his family. His bare feet 
were upturned in die shadows repulsively, in die manner of a 
corpse. His eloquent moudi had dropped open. His youngest 
daughter, scratching her head with one hand, with die odier waved 
a green bough over his scorched and peeling face. 



VI 



THE declining sun had shifted die shadows from west to east 
among die houses of die town. It had shifted diem upon die whole 
extent of die immense Campo, widi die white walls of its haciendas 
on die knolls dominating die green distances; widi its grass-hatched 
ranchos crouching in the folds of ground by die banks of streams; 
widi die dark islands of clustered trees on a clear sea of grass, and 
the precipitous range of the Cordillera, immense and motionless, 
emerging from die billows of die lower forests like die barren coast 
of a land of giants. The sunset rays, striking die snow slope of 
Higuerota from afar, gave it an air of rosy youdi, while die serrated 
mass of distant peaks remained black, as if calcined in die fiery 
radiance. The undulating surface of die forests seemed powdered 
widi pale gold dust; and away diere, beyond Rincon, hidden from 
the town by two wooded spurs, the rocks of die San Tome gorge, 
widi die flat wall of die mountain itself crowned by gigantic ferns, 
took on warm tones of brown and yellow, widi red, rusty streaks 
and die dark green clumps of bushes rooted in crevices. From die 
plain die stamp sheds and die houses of die mine appeared dark 
and small, high up, like the nests of birds clustered on die ledges 
of a cliff. The zigzag paths resembled faint tracings scratched on 
die w r all of a cyclopean blockhouse. To die two serenos of die 
mine on day duty, strolling, carbine in hand and w r atchful eyes, in 
die shade of die trees lining die stream near die bridge, Don Pepe, 
descending die padi from die upper plateau, appeared no bigger 
than a large beede. 

Widi his air of aimless, insectdike going to and fro upon die 
face of die rock, Don Pepe's figure kept on descending steadily, 
and, when near die bottom, sank at last behind die roofs of 
storehouses, forges, and workshops. For a time die pair of serenos 
strolled back and fordi before die bridge, on which diey had 
stopped a horseman holding a large white envelope in his hand. 
Then Don Pepe, emerging in die village street from among die 
houses, not a stone's dirow from die frontier bridge, approached, 
striding in wide, dark trousers tucked into boots, a white linen 
jacket, sabre at his side and revolver at his belt. In diis disturbed 
time nodiing could find die Seiior Gobernador widi his boots off, 
as die saying is. 

At a slight nod from one of the serenos, die man, a messenger 
from die town, dismounted and crossed die bridge, leading his 
horse by die bridle. 

Don Pepe received die letter from his odier hand, slapped his 
left side and his hips in succession, feeling for his spectacle case. 
After settiing die heavy, silver mounted affair astride his nose and 
adjusting it carefully behind his ears, he opened the envelope, 



holding it up at about a foot in front of his eyes. The paper he 
pulled out contained some three lines of writing. He looked at 
them for a long time. His gray mustache moved slightly up and 
down, and the wrinkles, radiating at tire corners of his eyes, ran 
together. He nodded serenely. "Bueno," he said. "There is no 
answer." 

Then, in his quiet, kindly way, he engaged in a cautious 
conversation with tire man, who was willing to talk cheerily, as if 
something lucky had happened to him recently. He had seen from 
a distance Sotillo's infantry canrped along tire shore of tire harbor 
on each side of tire custom house. They had done no damage to 
the buildings. The foreigners of tire railway remained shut up 
within tire yards. They were no longer anxious to shoot poor 
people. He cursed tire foreigners; then he reported Montero's 
entry and tire runrors of tire town. The poor were going to be 
nrade rich now. That was very good. More he did not know; and, 
breaking into propitiatory snriles, he intimated that he was hungry 
and thirsty. The old nrajor directed him to go to tire alcalde of tire 
first village. The man rode off, and Don Pepe, striding slowly in 
tire direction of a little wooden belfry, looked over a hedge into a 
little garden and saw Father Roman sitting in a white hammock 
slung between two orange trees in front of tire presbytery. 

An enornrous tamarind shaded with its dark foliage tire whole 
white frame house. A young Indian girl, with long hair, big eyes, 
and small hands and feet, carried out a wooden chair, while a thin, 
old woman, crabbed and vigilant, watched her all the time fronr 
tire veranda. Don Pepe sat down in tire chair and lighted a cigar; 
the priest drew in an immense quantity of snuff out of tire hollow 
of his palm. On his reddish-brown face, worn, hollowed as if 
crunrbled, tire eyes fresh and candid, sparkled like two black 
diamonds. 

Don Pepe, in a nrild and humorous voice, informed Father 
Roman that Pedrito Montero, by tire hand of Senor Fuentes, had 
asked hinr on what ternrs he would surrender tire mine in proper 
working order to a legally constituted commission of patriotic 
citizens, escorted by a small military force. The priest cast his eyes 
up to heaven. However, Don Pepe continued, tire nrozo who 
brought tire letter said that Don Carlos Gould was alive, and so far 
unnrolested. 

Father Roman expressed in a few words his thankfulness at 
hearing of tire Senor Administrador's safety. 

The hour of oration had gone by in tire silvery ringing of a bell 
in the little belfry. The belt of forest closing tire entrance of tire 
valley stood like a screen between tire low sun and tire street of tire 
village. At tire other end of tire rocky gorge, between tire walls of 
basalt and granite, a forest-clad mountain, hiding all tire range fronr 
tire San Tome dwellers, rose steeply, lighted up and leafy to tire 



very top. Three small, rosy clouds hung motionless overhead in 
the great depth of hlue. Knots of people sat in the street between 
the wattled huts. Before the casa of the alcalde, the foremen of the 
nightshirt, already assembled to lead their men, squatted on the 
ground in a circle of leather skullcaps, and, bowing their bronze 
backs, were passing round the gourd of mate. The mozo from the 
town, having fastened his horse to a wooden post before the door, 
was telling them the news of Sulaco as the blackened gourd of the 
decoction passed from hand to hand. The grave alcalde himself, in 
a white waistcloth and a flowered chintz gown with sleeves, open 
wide upon his naked, stout person, with an effect of a gaudy 
bathing robe, stood by, wearing a rough beaver hat at tire back of 
his head, and grasping a tall staff with a silver knob in his hand. 
These insignia of his dignity had been conferred upon him by tire 
administration of tire mine, tire fountain of honor, of prosperity, 
and peace. He had been one of tire first immigrants into this 
valley; his sons and sons-in-law worked within tire mountain, which 
seenred, with its treasures, to pour down tire thundering ore-shoots 
of the upper nresa tire gifts of well being, security, and justice upon 
the toilers. He listened to tire news from tire town with curiosity 
and indifference, as if concerning another world than his own. And 
it was true that they appeared to him so. In a very few years the 
sense of belonging to a powerful organization had been developed 
in these harassed, half-wild Indians. They were proud of, and 
attached to, tire mine. It had secured their confidence and belief. 
They invested it with a protecting and invincible virtue, as though it 
were a fetish nrade by their own hands, for they were ignorant, and 
in other respects did not differ appreciably from tire rest of 
mankind, which puts infinite trust in its own creations. It never 
entered tire alcalde's head that tire mine could fail in its protection 
and force. Politics were good enough for the people of tire town 
and tire Canrpo. His yellow, round face, with wide nostrils, and 
motionless in expression, resenrbled a fierce full nroon. He 
listened to tire excited vaporings of tire nrozo without misgivings, 
without surprise, without any active sentiment whatever. 

Padre Roman sat dejectedly balancing himself, his feet just 
touching tire ground, his hands gripping tire edge of tire hammock. 
With less confidence, but as ignorant as his flock, he asked tire 
major what did he think was going to happen now. 

Don Pepe, bolt upright in tire chair, folded his hands 
peacefully on tire hilt of his sword, standing perpendicular between 
his thighs, and answered that he did not know. The nrine could be 
defended against any force likely to be sent to take possession. On 
tire other hand, from tire arid character of tire valley, when the 
regular supplies from tire Canrpo had been cut off, tire population 
of tire three villages could be starved into submission. Don Pepe 
exposed these contingencies with serenity to Father Roman, who, 



as an old campaigner was able to understand the reasoning of a 
military man. They talked with simplicity and directness. Father 
Roman was saddened at tire idea of his flock being scattered or 
else enslaved. He had no illusions as to their fate, not fronr 
penetration, but fronr long experience of political atrocities, which 
seenred to him fatal and unavoidable in tire life of a state. The 
working of tire usual public institutions presented itself to him 
nrost distinctly as a series of calamities overtaking private 
individuals and flowing logically fronr one another through hate, 
revenge, folly, and rapacity, as though they had been part of a 
divine dispensation. Father Roman's clear sightedness was served 
by an uninformed intelligence; but his heart, preserving its 
tenderness among scenes of carnage, spoliation, and violence, 
abhorred these calamities tire nrore as his association with the 
victims was closer. He entertained towards the Indians of tire valley 
feelings of paternal scorn. He had been marrying, baptizing, 
confessing, absolving, and burying tire workers of tire San Tome 
mine with dignity and unction for five years or nrore; and he 
believed in tire sacredness of these ministrations, which nrade 
them his own in a spiritual sense. They were dear to his sacerdotal 
supremacy. Mrs. Gould's earnest interest in tire concerns of these 
people enhanced their importance in tire priest's eyes, because it 
really augmented his own. When talking over with her the 
innumerable Marias and Brigidas of tire villages, he felt his own 
humanity expand. Padre Roman was incapable of fanaticism to an 
almost reprehensible degree. The English Sehora was evidently a 
heretic; but at tire sanre time she seenred to him wonderful and 
angelic. Whenever that confused state of his feelings occurred to 
him, while strolling, for instance, his breviary under his arnr, in tire 
wide shade of tire tamarind, he would stop short to inhale, with a 
strong snuffling noise, a large quantity of snuff, and shake his head 
profoundly. At tire drought of what might befall tire illustrious 
sehora presently he becanre gradually overcome with dismay. He 
voiced it in an agitated nrurnrur. Even Don Pepe lost his serenity 
for a moment. He leaned forward stiffly. 

"Listen, padre. The very fact that those thieving macaques in 
Sulaco are trying to find out the price of nry honor proves that 
Sehor Don Carlos and all in the Casa Gould are safe. As to nry 
honor, that also is safe, as every man, woman, and child knows. 
But tire negro Liberals who have snatched tire town by surprise do 
not know that. Bueno! Let them sit and wait. While they wait they 
can do no harm." 

And he regained his conrposure. He regained it easily, because 
whatever happened his honor of air old officer of Paez was safe. 
He had pronrised Charles Gould that at tire approach of an arnred 
force he would defend tire gorge just long enough to give himself 
time to destroy scientifically tire whole plant, buildings, and 



workshops of die mine with heavy charges of dynamite; hlock widi 
ruins die main tunnel, hreak down die pathways, hlow up die dam 
of die water power, shatter die famous Gould Concession into 
fragments, flying sky-high out of a horrified world. The mine had 
got hold of Charles Gould widi a grip as deadly as ever it had laid 
upon his fadier. But diis extreme resolution had seemed to Don 
Pepe die most natural tiling in the world. His measures had been 
taken widi judgment. Everything was prepared widi a careful 
completeness. And Don Pepe folded his hands pacifically on his 
sword hilt and nodded at die priest In his excitement Father 
Roman had flung snuff in handfuls at his face, and, all besmeared 
widi tobacco, round eyed, and beside himself, had got out of die 
hammock to walk about, uttering exclamations. 

Don Pepe stroked his gray and pendent mustache, whose fine 
ends hung far below die clean cut line of his jaw, and spoke widi a 
conscious pride in his reputation. 

"So, padre, I don't know what will happen. But I know that, as 
long as I am here, Don Carlos can speak to that macaque, Pedrito 
Montero, and direaten the destruction of die mine with perfect 
assurance diat he will be taken seriously. For people know me." 

He began to turn the cigar in his lips a little nervously, and 
went on: 

"But diat is talk— good for die politicos. I am a military man. I 
do not know what may happen. But I know what ought to be 
done: die mine should march upon die town with guns, axes, 
knives tied up to sticks— por Dios! That is what should be done. 
Only-" 

His folded hands twitched on die hilt. The cigar turned faster 
in die corner of his lips. 

"And who should lead but I? Unfortunately— observe— I have 
given my word of honor to Don Carlos not to let die mine fall into 
die hands of diese thieves. In war— you know this, padre— die fate 
of batties is uncertain, and whom could I leave here to act for me 
in case of defeat? The explosives are ready. But it would require a 
man of high honor, of intelligence, of judgment, of courage, to 
carry out die prepared destruction— somebody I can trust with my 
honor as I can trust myself; another old officer of Paez, for 
instance; or— or— perhaps one of Paez's old chaplains would do." 

He got up, long, lank, upright, hard, widi his martial mustache 
and die bony structure of his face, from which the glance of die 
sunken eyes seemed to transfix die priest, who stood still, an 
empty wooden snuffbox held upside down in his hand, and glared 
back, speechlessly, at die governor of the mine. 



VII 



AT about that time, in the Intendencia of Sulaco, Charles Gould 
was assuring Pedrito Montero, who had sent a request for his 
presence there, that he would never let the mine pass out of his 
hand for die profit of a government who had robbed him of it. 
The Gould Concession could not be resumed. His fadier had not 
desired it. The son would never surrender it. He would never 
surrender it alive. And once dead, where was die power capable of 
resuscitating such an enterprise in all its vigor and wealdi out of die 
ashes and ruin of destruction? There was no such power in the 
country. And where was the skill and capital abroad that would 
condescend to touch such an ill-omened corpse? Charles Gould 
talked in die impassive tone which had for many years served to 
conceal his anger and contempt. He suffered. He was disgusted 
widi what he had to say. It was too much like heroics. In him the 
strictly practical instinct was in profound discord widi die almost 
mystic view he took of his right. The Gould Concession was 
symbolic of abstract justice. Let die heavens fall. But since die San 
Tome mine had developed into worldwide fame his threat had 
enough force and effectiveness to reach die rudimentary 
intelligence of Pedro Montero, wrapped up as it was in die futilities 
of historical anecdotes. The Gould Concession was a serious asset 
in die country's finance, and, what was more, in die private budgets 
of many officials as well. It was traditional. It was known. It was 
staid. It was credible. Every Minister of Interior drew a salary from 
the San Tome mine. It was natural. And Pedrito intended to be 
Minister of die Interior and President of die Council in his 
brodier's government. The Due de Morny had occupied diose 
high posts during the Second French Empire widi conspicuous 
advantage to himself. 

A table, a chair, a wooden bedstead had been procured for his 
Excellency, who, after a short siesta, rendered absolutely necessary 
by die labors and die pomps of his entry into Sulaco, had been 
getting hold of die administrative machine by making 
appointments, giving orders, and signing proclamations. Alone 
widi Charles Gould in die audience room, his Excellency managed 
widi his well known skill to conceal his annoyance and 
consternation. He had begun at first to talk loftily of confiscation, 
but the want of all proper feeling and mobility in die Seiior 
Administrador's features ended by affecting adversely his power of 
masterful expression. Charles Gould had repeated: "The 
government can certainly bring about die destruction of die San 
Tome mine if it likes; but widiout me it can do nothing else." It 
was an alarming pronouncement, and well calculated to hurt die 
sensibilities of a politician whose mind is bent upon die spoils of 
victory. And Charles Gould said also diat die destruction of die 



San Tome mine would cause die ruin of odier undertakings, the 
withdrawal of European capital, die withholding, most probably, of 
the last installment of die foreign loan. That stony fiend of a man 
said all diese diings (which were accessible to his Excellency's 
intelligence) in a coldblooded manner which made one shudder. 

A long course of reading historical works, light and gossipy in 
tone, carried out in garrets of Parisian hotels, sprawling on an 
untidy bed, to the neglect of his duties, menial or odierwise, had 
affected die manners of Pedro Montero. Had he seen around him 
the splendor of the old Intendencia— die magnificent hangings, the 
gilt furniture ranged along die walls— had he stood upon a dais on a 
noble square of red carpet, he would have probably been very 
dangerous from a sense of success and elevation. But in this 
sacked and devastated residence, with die diree pieces of common 
furniture huddled up in die middle of die vast apartment, Pedrito's 
imagination was subdued by a feeling of insecurity and 
impermanence. That feeling, and the firm attitude of Charles 
Gould, who had not once so far pronounced die word 
"Excellency," diminished him in his own eyes. He assumed die 
tone of an enlightened man of die world, and begged Charles 
Gould to dismiss from his mind every cause for alarm. He was 
now conversing, he reminded him, widi die brodier of die master 
of die country, charged widi a reorganizing mission. The trusted 
brodier of die master of die country, he repeated. Nodiing was 
fardier from die thoughts of diat wise and patriotic hero dian ideas 
of destruction. "I entreat you, Don Carlos, not to give way to your 
antidemocratic prejudices," he cried, in a burst of condescending 
effusion. 

Pedrito Montero surprised one at first sight by die vast 
development of his bald forehead, a shiny yellow expanse between 
die crinkly coal black tufts of hair widiout any lustre, die engaging 
form of his moudi, and an unexpectedly cultivated voice. But his 
eyes, very glistening, as if freshly painted on each side of his 
hooked nose, had a round, hopeless, birdlike stare when opened 
fully. Now, however, he narrowed diem agreeably, dirowing his 
square chin up and speaking widi closed teedi slightiy dirough die 
nose widi what he imagined to be die manner of a grand seigneur. 

In diat attitude he declared suddenly that die highest 
expression of democracy was Caesarism— die imperial rule based 
upon die direct popular vote. Caesarism was conservative. It was 
strong. It recognized the legitimate needs of democracy, which 
requires orders, titles, and distinctions. They would be showered 
upon deserving men. Caesarism was peace. It was progressive. It 
secured die prosperity of a country. Pedrito Montero was carried 
away. Look at what the Second Empire had done for France. It 
was a regime which delighted to honor men of Don Carlos's 
stamp. The Second Empire fell, but diat was because its chief was 



devoid of diat military genius which had raised General Montero 
to die pinnacle of fame and glory. Pedrito elevated his hand jerkily 
to help die idea of pinnacle of fame. "We shall have many talks 
yet. We shall understand each odier dioroughly, Don Carlos!" he 
cried, in a tone of fellowship. Repuhlicanism had done its work. 
Imperial democracy was the power of die future. Pedrito, die 
guerrillero, showing his hand, lowered his voice forcibly. A man 
singled out by his fellow citizens for die honorable nickname of El 
Rey de Sulaco could not but receive a full recognition from an 
imperial democracy as a great captain of industry and a person of 
weighty counsel, whose popular designation would be soon 
replaced by a more solid title. "Eh, Don Carlos? No! What do you 
say? Conde de Sulaco, eh?— or marquis ..." 

He ceased. The air was cool on die Plaza, where a patrol of 
cavalry rode round and round without penetrating into die streets, 
which resounded with shouts and die strumming of guitars issuing 
from die open doors of pulperias. The orders were not to interfere 
with die enjoyments of the people. And above die roofs, next to 
the perpendicular lines of die cathedral towers, the snowy curve of 
Higuerota blocked a large space of darkening blue sky before die 
windows of die Intendencia. After a time Pedrito Montero, 
thrusting his hand in die bosom of his coat, bow r ed his head with 
slow dignity. The audience was over. 

Charles Gould, on going out, passed his hand over his 
forehead as if to disperse die mists of an oppressive dream whose 
grotesque extravagance leaves behind a subtle sense of bodily 
danger and intellectual decay. In die passages and on die staircases 
of die old palace Montero's troopers lounged about insolently, 
smoking, and making way for no one; the clanking of sabres and 
spurs resounded all over die building. Three silent groups of 
Chilians in severe black waited in the main gallery, formal and 
helpless, a little huddled up, each keeping apart from die others, as 
if in die exercise of a public duty they had been overcome by a 
desire to shun die notice of every eye. These were the deputations 
w r aiting for their audience. The one from die Provincial Assembly, 
more restless and uneasy in its corporate expression, was 
overtopped by die big face of Don Juste Lopez, soft and white, 
with prominent eyelids and wreathed in impenetrable solemnity as 
if in a dense cloud. The President of die Provincial Assembly, 
coming bravely to save die last shred of parliamentary institutions 
(on die English model), averted his eyes from die administrador of 
die San Tome mine as a dignified rebuke of his little faith in diat 
only saving principle. 

The mournful severity of that reproof did not affect Charles 
Gould, but he was sensible to die glances of die odiers directed 
upon him widiout reproach, as if only to read dieir own fate upon 
his face. All of diem had talked, shouted, and declaimed in die 



great sala of tlie Casa Gould. The feeling of compassion for those 
men, struck with a strange impotence in the toils of moral 
degradation, did not induce him to make a sign. He suffered from 
his fellowship in evil with them too much. He crossed the plaza 
unmolested. The Amarilla Cluh was full of joyous ragamuffins. 
Their frowsy heads protruded from every window, and from 
behind came drunken shouts, the thumping of feet, and the 
twanging of harps. Broken bottles strewed the pavement below. 
Charles Gould found the doctor still in his house. 

Dr. Monygham came away from the crack in the shutter 
through which he had been watching the street. 

"All! You are back at last," he said, in a tone of relief. "I have 
been telling Mrs. Gould that you were perfectly safe, but I was not 
by any means certain that the fellow would have let you go." 

"Neither was I," confessed Charles Gould, laying his hat on the 
table. 

"You will have to take action." 

The silence of Charles Gould seemed to admit that this was 
the only course. This was as far as Charles Gould was accustomed 
to go towards expressing his intentions. 

"I hope you did not warn Montero of what you mean to do," 
the doctor said, anxiously. 

"I tried to make him see that the existence of the mine was 
bound up with my personal safety," continued Charles Gould, 
looking away from the doctor and fixing his eyes upon the 
watercolor sketch upon the wall. 

"He believed you?" tire doctor asked, eagerly. 

"God knows!" said Charles Gould. "I owed it to my wife to say 
that much. He is well enough informed. He knows that I have 
Don Pepe there. Fuentes must have told him. They know that the 
old major is perfectly capable of blowing up tire San Tome mine 
without hesitation or compunction. Had it not been for that I don't 
think I'd have left the Intendencia a free man. He would blow 
everything up from loyalty and from hate— from hate of these 
Liberals, as they call themselves. Liberals! The words one knows 
so well have a nightmarish meaning in this country. Liberty- 
democracy— patriotism— government. All of them have a flavor of 
folly and murder. Haven't they, doctor? ... I alone can restrain 
Don Pepe. If they were to— to do away with me, nothing could 
prevent him." 

"They will try to tamper with him," the doctor suggested, 
thoughtfully. 

"It is very possible," Charles Gould said, very low, as if 
speaking to himself, and still gazing at tire sketch of the San Tome 
gorge upon tire wall. "Yes, I expect they will try that." Charles 
Gould looked for tire first time at the doctor. "It would give me 
time," he added. 



"Exactly," said Dr. Monygham, suppressing his excitement. 
"Especially if Don Pepe behaves diplomatically. Why shouldn't he 
give them some hope of success? Eh? Otherwise you wouldn't 
gain so much time. Couldn't he be instructed to—" 

Charles Gould, looking at the doctor steadily, shook his head, 
but the doctor continued, with a certain amount of lire: 

"Yes, to enter into negotiations for the surrender of the mine. 
It is a good notion. You would mature your plan. Of course I 
don't ask what it is. I don't want to know. I would refuse to listen 
to you if you tried to tell me. I am not fit for confidences." 

"What nonsense!" muttered Charles Gould, with displeasure. 

He disapproved of the doctor's sensitiveness about that far off 
episode of his life. So much memory shocked Charles Gould. It 
was like morbidness. And again he shook his head. He refused to 
tamper with the open rectitude of Don Pepe's conduct both from 
taste and from policy. Instructions would have to be either verbal 
or in writing. In either case they ran tire risk of being intercepted. 
It was by no nreans certain that a messenger could reach tire mine, 
and, besides, there was no one to send. It was on tire tip of 
Charles's tongue to say that only tire late capataz of cargadores 
could have been employed with some chance of success and tire 
certitude of discretion. But he did not say that. He pointed out to 
tire doctor that it would have been bad policy. Directly Don Pepe 
let it be supposed that he could be bought over, tire 
adnrinistrador's personal safety and tire safety of his friends would 
become endangered. For there would be then no reason for 
moderation. The incorruptibility of Don Pepe was the essential 
and restraining tiring. The doctor hung his head and adnritted that 
in a way it was so. 

He couldn't deny to himself that tire reasoning was sound 
enough. Don Pepe's usefulness consisted in his unstained 
character. As to his own usefulness, he reflected bitterly it was also 
in his own character. He declared to Charles Could that he had 
tire nreans of keeping Sotillo fronr joining his forces with Montero, 
at least for tire present. 

"If you had had all this silver here," tire doctor said, "or even if 
it had been known to be at tire mine, you could have bribed Sotillo 
to throw off his recent Monterisnr. You could have induced him 
either to go away in his steamer or even to join you." 

"Certainly not that last," Charles Gould declared, firmly. 
"What could one do with a nran like that afterwards— tell nre, 
doctor? The silver is gone and I am glad of it. It would have been 
air inrnrediate and strong temptation. The scramble for that visible 
plunder would have precipitated a disastrous ending. I would have 
had to defend it too. I am glad we've renroved it— even if it is lost. 
It would have been a danger and a curse." 

"Perhaps he is right," tire doctor air hour later said, hurriedly, 



to Mrs. Gould, whom he met in the corridor. "The tiling is done, 
and die shadow of die treasure may do just as well as die 
substance. Let me try to serve you to the whole extent of my evil 
reputation. I am off now to play my game of hetrayal widi Sotillo 
and keep him off die town." 

She put out hodi her hands impulsively. "Dr. Monygham, you 
are running a terrihle risk," she whispered, averting from his face 
her eyes full of tears for a short glance at die door of her husband's 
room. She pressed hodi his hands, and die doctor stood as if 
rooted to die spot, looking down at her and trying to twist his lips 
into a smile. 

"Oh, I know you will defend my memory," he uttered at last, 
and ran tottering down die stairs, across die patio, and out of die 
house. In die street he kept up a great pace widi his smart 
hobbling walk, a case of instruments under his arm. He was known 
for heing loco. Nohody interfered widi him. From under die 
seaward gate, across die dusty, arid plain interspersed widi low 
hushes, he saw, more than a mile away, the ugly enormity of die 
custom house and die two or diree odier huildings which at that 
time constituted die seaport of Sulaco. Far away to die soudi 
groves of palm trees edged the curve of die harhor shore. The 
distant peaks of die Cordillera had lost dieir identity of clear cut 
shapes in die steadily deepening hlue of die eastern sky. The 
doctor walked hriskly. A darkling shadow seemed to fall upon him 
from die zenidi. The sun had set. For a time die snows of 
Higuerota continued to glow widi die reflected glory of die west. 
The doctor, holding a straight course for die customhouse, 
appeared lonely, hopping among die dark hushes like a tall bird 
widi a broken wing. 

Tints of purple, gold, and crimson were mirrored in die clear 
water of die harbor. A long tongue of land, straight as a wall, widi 
the grass-grown ruins of die fort making a sort of rounded green 
mound, plainly visible from die inner shore, closed its circuit; and 
beyond, die Placid Gulf repeated diose splendors of coloring on a 
greater scale with a more sombre magnificence. The great mass of 
cloud filling die head of die gulf had long, red smears among its 
convoluted folds of gray and black, as of a floating mande stained 
widi blood. The diree Isabels, overshadowed and clear cut in a 
great smoodiness confounding die sea and sky, appeared 
suspended, purple-black, in die air. The littie wavelets seemed to 
be tossing tiny red sparks upon die sandy benches. The glassy 
bands of water along die horizon gave out a fiery red glow, as if fire 
and water had been mingled togedier in the vast bed of die ocean. 

At last die conflagration of sea and sky, lying embraced and 
asleep in a flaming contact upon die edge of die world, went out. 
The red sparks in the water vanished, togedier with die stains of 
blood in die black mande draping die sombre head of die Placid 



Gulf; and a sudden breeze sprang up and died out after rustling 
heavily the growth of bushes on the ruined earthwork of the fort. 
Nostromo woke up from a fourteen hours' sleep and arose full 
length from his lair in die long grass. He stood knee deep among 
the whispering undulations of the green blades, with the lost air of 
a man just born into the world. Handsome, robust, and supple, he 
threw back his head, flung his arms open, and stretched himself 
with a slow twist of the waist and a leisurely growling yawn of white 
teeth; as natural and free from evil in the moment of waking as a 
magnificent and unconscious wild beast. Then, in the suddenly 
steadied glance fixed upon nothing from under a forced frown, 
appeared the man. 



VIII 



AFTER landing from his swim, Nostromo had scrambled up, all 
dripping, into the main quadrangle of the old fort, and there, 
among ruined bits of walls and rotting remnants of roofs and 
sheds, he had slept the day through. He had slept in the shadow of 
the mountains, in the white blaze of noon, in the stillness and 
solitude of that overgrown piece of land between the nearly closed 
oval of the harbor and the spacious semicircle of the gulf. He lay 
as if dead. A rey-zamuro, appearing like a tiny black speck in the 
blue, stooped, circling prudently with a stealthiness of flight 
startling in a bird of that great size. The shadow of his pearly white 
body, of his black tipped wings, fell on the grass no more silently 
than he alighted himself on a hillock of rubbish within three yards 
of that man lying as still as a corpse. He stretched his bare neck, 
craned his bald head, loathsome in the brilliance of varied 
coloring, with an air of voracious anxiety towards the promising 
stillness of that prostrate body. Then sinking his head deeply into 
his soft plumage he settled himself to wait. The first thing upon 
which Nostromo's eyes fell on waking was this patient watcher for 
the signs of death and corruption. When the man got up the 
vulture hopped away in great, sidelong, fluttering jumps. He 
lingered for a while morose and reluctant before he rose, circling 
noiselessly with a sinister droop of beak and claws. 

Long after he had vanished the capataz of the cargadores, 
lifting his eyes up to the sky, muttered, "I am not dead yet." 

Nostromo was some time in regaining his hold on the world. It 
had slipped from him completely in the deep slumber of more 
than twelve hours. It had been like a break of continuity in the 
chain of experience; he had to find himself in time and space, to 
think of the hour and the place of his return. It was a novelty. He 
was one of those efficient sailors who generally wake up from a 
dead sleep with their wits in complete working order. The capataz 



of the cargadores had heen a good man on hoard ship. He had 
been a good foremast hand and a first rate boatswain. From the 
conditions of sea life that sort of excellence brings no prize but an 
exaggerated consciousness of one's value and the confidence of 
one's superiors. The captain of the Genoese ship from which he 
had deserted had gone about tearing his gray hairs with grief and 
exasperation. He did it very publicly, being an Italian and 
unashamed of genuine emotions. He mingled imprecations against 
ingratitude with words of regret at his loss before the people on tire 
wharf, before the lightermen discharging tire cargo; in tire O.S.N. 
office before Captain Mitchell, who was sympathetic in a way, but 
considered him in the end an awful and ridiculous nuisance and 
was glad to see his back for tire last time. 

Nostromo, in close hiding in a back roonr of a pulperia for the 
three days before the ship sailed, heard of these lamentations, 
threats, and curses apparently unmoved. But he heard of them 
with satisfaction. This was as it should he. He was a valuable man. 
What better recognition could he expect? His vanity was infinitely 
and naively greedy, but his conceptions were linrited. Afterwards 
his success in tire work he found on shore enlarged them in the 
direction of personal magnificence. This sailor led a public life in 
his sphere. It became necessary to him. It was tire very breath of 
his nostrils. And who can say that it was not genuine distinction. It 
was genuine because it was based on something that was in him— 
his overweening vanity, which Decoud alone, thinking that he 
would be of use politically, had taken tire trouble to find out. Each 
man nrust have sonre temperamental sense by which to discover 
himself. With Nostromo it was vanity of an artless sort. Without it 
he would have been nothing. It called out his recklessness, his 
industry, his ingenuity, and that disdain of tire natives which helped 
hinr so much upon tire line of his work and resenrbled air inborn 
capacity for conrnrand. It nrade hinr appear incorruptible and 
fierce. It nrade hinr happy also. He was disinterested with the 
unworldliness of a sailor, arising not so much fronr tire absence of 
mercenary instincts as fronr sheer ignorance and carelessness for 
tonrorrow. He was pleased with himself. It was not tire cold, 
ferocious, and idealistic self-conceit of a nran of some northern 
race; it was materialistic and imaginative. It was an unpractical and 
warm sentiment, a picturesque development of his character, tire 
growth of an unsophisticated sense of his individuality. It was 
inrnrense. It was fostered by Captain Mitchell s absurd pride in his 
foreman, tire varied use nrade of his handiness, and the 
appreciative grunts and nods of tire silent old Viola, to whose 
exalted sentiments every sort of faithfulness appealed greatly. 

The capataz of tire Sulaco cargadores had lived in splendor 
and publicity up to tire very moment, as it were, when he took 
charge of tire lighter containing tire treasure in silver ingots. 



The last act he had performed in Sulaco was in complete 
harmony with his vanity, and as such perfectly genuine. He had 
given his last quarter dollar to an old woman moaning with the 
grief and fatigue of a dismal search under tire arch of tire ancient 
gate. Performed in obscurity and without witnesses, it had still tire 
characteristics of splendor and publicity, and was in strict keeping 
witir his reputation. But this awakening, in solitude but for the 
watchful vulture, anrong the ruins of dre fort, had no such 
characteristics. His first confused feeling was exactly this— that it 
was not in keeping. It was nrore like tire end of things. The 
necessity of living concealed somehow, for God knows how long, 
which assailed him on his return to consciousness, nrade 
everything that had gone before for years appear vain and foolish, 
like a flattering dream conre suddenly to an end. 

He climbed the crumbling slope of tire rampart and, putting 
aside tire bushes, looked upon the harbor. He saw a couple of 
ships at anchor upon tire sheet of water reflecting tire last gleams of 
light, and Sotillo's steamer nroored to the jetty. And behind tire 
pale, long front of tire custonr house there appeared tire extent of 
the town, like a grove of thick timber on tire plain, with a gateway 
in front and tire cupolas, towers, and nriradors rising above the 
trees, all dark, as if surrendered already to tire night. The drought 
that it was no longer open to him to ride through tire streets, 
recognized by every one, great and little, as he used to do every 
evening on his way to play nronte in tire posada of tire Mexican 
Domingo; or to sit in tire place of honor, listening to songs and 
looking at dances, nrade it appear to him as a town that had no 
existence. 

For a long time he gazed on, then let tire parted bushes spring 
back, and crossing over to tire other side of tire fort, surveyed the 
vaster emptiness of the great gulf. The Isabels stood out heavily 
upon tire narrowing long band of red in tire west, which gleanred 
low between their black shapes; and the capataz drought of 
Decoud alone there with tire treasure. That nran was tire only one 
who cared whether he fell into tire hands of tire Monterists or not, 
tire capataz reflected bitterly. And that merely would be an anxiety 
for his own sake. As to tire rest, they neither knew nor cared. 
What he had heard Giorgio Viola say once was very true. Kings, 
ministers, aristocrats, tire rich in general, kept tire people in 
poverty and subjection; they kept them as they kept dogs, to fight 
and hunt for their service. 

The darkness of tire sky had descended to the line of tire 
horizon, enveloping tire whole gulf, tire islets, and tire lover of 
Airtonia, alone with tire treasure on the Great Isabel. The capataz 
of tire cargadores, turning his back on these things invisible and 
existing, sat down and took his face between his fists. He felt the 
pinch of poverty for the first time in his life. To find himself 



without money after a run of bad luck at monte in the low, smoky 
room of Domingo's posada, where the fraternity of cargadores 
gambled, sang, and danced of an evening; to remain with empty 
pockets after a burst of public generosity to some peyne d'ora girl 
or other (for whom he did not care), had none of the humiliation 
of destitution. He remained rich in glory and reputation. But since 
it was no longer possible for him to parade the streets of the town 
and be hailed with respect in the usual haunts of his leisure, this 
sailor felt himself destitute indeed. 

His mouth was dry. It was dry with heavy sleep and extremely 
anxious thinking as it had never been dry before. It may be said 
that Nostromo tasted the dust and ashes of the fruit of life into 
which he had bitten deeply in his hunger for praise. Without 
removing his head from between his fists he tried to spit before 
him— "Tfui"— and muttered a curse upon the selfishness of all the 
rich people. 

In this harbor, at the foot of immense mountains that outlined 
their peaks among the kindled swarm of stars; on this smooth, 
half-wild sheet of black water, serene in its loneliness, whose future 
of crowded prosperity was being settled not so much by the 
industry as by the fears, necessities and crimes of men shortsighted 
in good and evil, the two solitary foreign ships had hoisted their 
riding lights, according to rule. But Nostromo gave no second look 
to the harbor. Those two ships were present enough to his mind. 
Either would have been a refuge. It would have been no feat for 
him to swim off to them. One of them was an Italian bark which 
had brought a cargo of timber from Puget Sound for the railway. 
He knew her men; in his quality of foreman of all the work done 
in the harbor he had been able to oblige her captain in some small 
matter relating to the filling of his water tanks. Bronzed, black 
whiskered, and stately, with the impressive gravity of a man too 
powerful to unbend, he had been invited more than once to drink 
a glass of Italian vermouth in her cabin It was well known among 
shipmasters trading along tire seaboard that, as a matter of sound 
policy, tire capataz of tire cargadores in Sulaco should be 
propitiated by small civilities, which he seenred to expect as his 
due. For in truth, being implicitly trusted by Captain Mitchell, he 
had, as sonrebody said, the whole harbor in his pocket. For the 
rest, an excellent fellow, quite straightforward, everybody agreed. 

Since everything seenred lost in Sulaco (and that was the 
feeling of his waking), the idea of leaving tire country altogether 
had presented itself to Nostromo. In that ship they would have 
given him shelter and a passage, and have landed him in Italy 
ultimately. At that drought he had seen, like tire beginning of 
another dream, a vision of steep and tideless shores, with dark 
pines on tire heights and white houses low down near a very blue 
sea. He saw tire quays of a big port where tire coasting feluccas, 



with their lateen sails outspread like motionless wings, enter, 
gliding silently between the end of long moles of squared blocks 
that project angularly towards each other, hugging a cluster of 
shipping, to die superb bosom of a hill covered widi palaces. He 
remembered diese sights not without some filial emotion, though 
he had been habitually and severely beaten as a boy on one of 
these feluccas by his uncle, a short necked, shaven Genoese with a 
deliberate and distrustful manner, who (he firmly believed) had 
cheated him out of his orphan's inheritance. But it is mercifully 
decreed that the evils of the past should appear but faintly in 
retrospect. Under the sense of loneliness, abandonment, and 
failure, the idea of return to these tilings appeared tolerable. But 
what! Return? With bare feet and head, with one check shirt and a 
pair of cotton calzoneros for all, worldly possessions? 

The renowned capataz, his elbows on his knees and a fist dug 
into each cheek, laughed with self-derision, as he had spat with 
disgust, straight out before him into the night. The confused and 
intimate impressions of universal dissolution which beset a 
subjective nature at any strong check to its ruling passion had a 
bitterness approaching that of death itself. And no wonder— with 
no intellectual existence or moral strain to carry on his 
individuality, unscathed, over the abyss left by the collapse of his 
vanity; for even that had been simply sensuous and picturesque, 
and could not exist apart from outward show. He was like many 
other men of southern races in whom the complexity of simple 
conceptions is much more apparent than real. He was simple. He 
was as ready to become the prey of any belief, superstition, or 
desire as a child. 

The facts of his situation he could appreciate like a man with a 
distinct experience of the country. He saw them clearly. He was as 
if sobered after a long bout of intoxication. His fidelity had been 
taken advantage of. He had persuaded the body of cargadores to 
side with the Blancos against the rest of the people; he had had 
interviews with Don Jose; he had been made use of by Father 
Corbelan for negotiating with Hernandez; it was known that Don 
Martin Decoud had admitted him to a sort of intimacy so that he 
had been free of the offices of the Por-venir. All these tilings had 
flattered him in the usual way. What did he care about their 
politics. Nothing at all. And at die end of it all, Nostromo here and 
Nostromo there, where is Nostromo? Nostromo can do this and 
that; work all day and ride about at night— behold! he found 
himself a marked Ribierist for any sort of vengeance Gamacho, for 
instance, would choose to take, now die Montero party had, after 
all, mastered die town. The Europeans had given up; the 
Caballeros had given up. Don Martin had indeed explained it was 
only temporary; that he was going to bring Barrios to die rescue. 
Where was that now— with Don Martin (whose ironic manner of 



talk had always made die capataz feel vaguely uneasy) stranded on 
the Great Isabel. Everybody had given up. Even Don Carlos had 
given up. The hurried removal of die treasure out to sea meant 
nothing else dian that. The capataz de cargadores, in a revulsion of 
subjectiveness, exasperated almost to insanity, beheld all his world 
widiout faidi and courage. He had been betrayed! 

Widi die boundless shadows of the sea behind him, out of his 
silence and immobility, facing die lofty shapes of die lower peaks 
crowded around die white, misty sheen of Higuerota, Nostromo 
laughed aloud again, sprang abrupdy to his feet and stood still. He 
must go. But where? 

"There is no mistake. They keep us and encourage us as if we 
were dogs born to fight and hunt for them. The vecchio is right," 
he said, slowly and scathingly. He remembered old Giorgio taking 
his pipe out of his mouth to throw these words over his shoulder at 
die cafe full of engine drivers and fitters from the railway 
workshops. This image fixed his wavering purpose. He would try 
to find old Giorgio if he could. God knows what might have 
happened to him! He made a few steps, then stopped again and 
shook his head. To die left and right, in front and behind him, die 
scrubby bush rusded mysteriously in die darkness. 

"Teresa was right, too," he added, in a low tone touched with 
awe. He wondered whetiier she were dead in her anger with him 
or still alive. As if in answer to this diought, half of remorse and 
half of hope, with a soft flutter and oblique flight, a big owl, whose 
appalling cry— "Ya-acabo! Ya-acabo!" (It is finished! It is 
finished!)— announces calamity and deadi in the popular belief, 
drifted vaguely, like a large dark ball, across his padi. In the 
downfall of all die realities diat made his force, he was affected by 
die superstition and shuddered slighdy. Signora Teresa must have 
died, dien. It could mean nodiing else. The cry of die ill-omened 
bird, die first sound he was to hear on his return, was a fitting 
welcome for his betrayed individuality. The unseen powers which 
he had offended by refusing to bring a priest to a dying woman 
were lifting up tiieir voice against him. She was dead. Widi 
admirable and human consistency he referred everything to 
himself. She had been a woman of good counsel always. And die 
bereaved old Giorgio remained stunned by his loss just as he was 
likely to require the advice of his sagacity. The blow would render 
die dreamy old man quite stupid for a time. 

As to Captain Mitchell, Nostromo, after the manner of trusted 
subordinates, considered him as a person fitted by education 
perhaps to sign papers in an office and to give orders, but 
otherwise of no use whatever, and somediing of a fool. The 
necessity of winding round his littie finger, almost daily, die 
pompous and testy self-importance of die old seaman had grown 
irksome widi use to Nostromo. At first it had given him an inward 



satisfaction. But the necessity of overcoming small obstacles 
becomes wearisome to a self-confident personality, as much by 
the certitude of success as by the monotony of effort. He 
mistrusted his superior's proneness to fussy action. That old 
Englishman had no judgment, he said to himself. It was useless to 
suppose that, acquainted with die true state of die case, he would 
keep it to himself. He would talk of doing impracticable tilings. 
Nostromo feared him as one would fear saddling one's self with 
some persistent worry. He had no discretion. He would betray the 
treasure. And Nostromo had made up his mind that the treasure 
should not be betrayed. 

The word had fixed itself tenaciously in his unintelligence. His 
imagination had seized upon the clear and simple notion of 
betrayal to account for the dazed feeling of enlightenment as to 
being done for, of having inadvertently gone out of his existence 
on an issue in which his personality had not been taken into 
account. A man betrayed is a man destroyed. Signora Teresa (may 
God have her soul!) had been right. He had never been taken into 
account. Destroyed! Her white form sitting up bowed in bed, the 
falling black hair, the wide-browed, suffering face raised to him, the 
anger of her denunciations, appeared to him now majestic with the 
awfulness of inspiration and of death. For it was not for nothing 
that the evil bird had uttered its lamentable shriek over his head. 
She was dead— may God have her soul! 

Sharing in the anti-priestly free thought of the masses, his mind 
used the pious formula from the superficial force of habit, but with 
a deep seated sincerity. The popular mind is incapable of 
scepticism; and that incapacity delivers their helpless strength to 
the wiles of swindlers and to the pitiless enthusiasms of leaders 
inspired by visions of a high destiny. She was dead. But would 
God consent to receive her soul? She had died without confession 
or absolution, because he had not been willing to spare her 
another moment of his time. His scorn of priests as priests 
remained; but, after all, it was impossible to know r wiiether what 
they affirmed was not true. Power, punishment, pardon, are simple 
and credible notions. The magnificent capataz of cargadores, 
deprived of certain simple realities, such as the admiration of 
women, the adulation of men, the admired publicity of his life, was 
ready to feel the burden of sacrilegious guilt descend upon his 
shoulders. 

Bareheaded, in a thin shirt and drawers, he felt the lingering 
warmth of the fine sand under the soles of his feet, The narrow 
strand gleamed far ahead in a long curve, defining the outline of 
this wild side of the harbor. He flitted along the shore like a 
pursued shadow, between the sombre palm groves and the sheet 
of water lying as still as death on his right hand. He strode with 
headlong haste in the silence and solitude as though he had 



forgotten all prudence and caution. But he knew that on this side 
of die water he ran no risk of discovery. The only inhabitant was a 
lonely, silent, apadietic Indian in charge of die palmaries, who 
brought sometimes a load of cocoanuts to die town for sale. He 
lived widiout a woman in an open shed, widi a perpetual fire of dry 
sticks smouldering in front, near an old canoe lying bottom upon 
die beach. He could be easily avoided. 

The barking of die dogs about diat man's rancho was die first 
tiling that checked his speed. He had forgotten die dogs. He 
swerved sharply and plunged into die palm grove as into a 
wilderness of columns in an immense hall, whose dense obscurity 
seemed to whisper and rustie faintly high above his head. He 
traversed it, entered a ravine, climbed to die top of a steep ridge 
free of trees and bushes. 

From there, open and vague in die starlight, he saw die plain 
between die town and die harbor. In die woods above some night 
bird made a strange drumming noise. Below, beyond die palmaria 
on die beach, the Indian's dogs continued to bark uproariously. 
He wondered what had upset diem so much, and peering down 
from his elevation was surprised to detect unaccountable 
movements of the ground below, as if several oblong pieces of die 
plain had been in motion. Those dark, shifting patches, alternately 
catching and eluding die eye, altered dieir place always away from 
the harbor with a suggestion of consecutive order and purpose. A 
light dawned upon him. It was a column of infantry on a night 
march towards die higher broken country at die foot of die hills. 
But he was too much in die dark about everything for wonder and 
speculation. 

The plain had resumed its shadowy immobility. He descended 
die ridge, and found himself in die open solitude between the 
harbor and die town. Its spaciousness, extended indefinitely by an 
effect of obscurity, rendered more sensible his profound isolation. 
His pace became slower. No one waited for him; no one diought 
of him; no one expected or wished his return. "Betrayed! 
Betrayed!" he muttered to himself. No one cared. He might have 
been drowned by this time. No one would have cared— unless, 
perhaps, die children, he thought to himself. But they were with 
the English signora, and not diinking of him at all. 

He wavered in his purpose of making straight for the Casa 
Viola. To what end? What could he expect diere? His life seemed 
to fail him in all its details, even to die scornful reproaches of 
Teresa. He was aware painfully of his reluctance. Was it that 
remorse which she had prophesied with what he saw now was her 
last breath? 

Meantime he had deviated from die straight course, inclining 
by a sort of instinct to the left, towards die jetty and die harbor, the 
scene of his daily labors. The great lengdi of the customhouse 



loomed up all at once like the wall of a factor)'. Not a soul 
challenged his approach, and his curiosity became excited as he 
passed cautiously towards the front by the unexpected sight of two 
lighted windows. 

They had the fascination of a lonely vigil kept by some 
mysterious watcher up there, those two windows shining dimly 
upon the harbor in the whole vast extent of the abandoned 
building. The solitude could almost be felt. A strong smell of wood 
smoke hung about in a thin haze, which was faintly perceptible to 
his raised eyes against the glitter of the stars. As he advanced in the 
profound silence, the shrilling of innumerable cicalas in the dry 
grass seemed positively deafening to his strained ears. Slowly, step 
by step, he found himself in tire great hall, sombre and full of acrid 
snroke. 

A fire built against tire staircase had burned down impotently 
to a low heap of enrbers. The hard wood had failed to catch; only 
a few steps at the bottonr snrouldered, with a creeping glow of 
sparks defining their charred edges. At the top he saw a streak of 
light from an open door. It fell upon tire vast landing, all foggy with 
a slow drift of snroke. That was tire roonr. He climbed tire stairs, 
then checked himself, because he had seen within tire shadow of a 
man cast upon one of tire walls. It was a shapeless, high- 
shouldered shadow of somebody standing still, with a lowered 
head out of his line of sight. The capataz, remembering that he was 
totally unarmed, stepped aside, and effacing himself upright in a 
dark corner, waited with his eyes fixed on tire door. 

The whole enornrous ruined barrack of a place, unfinished, 
without ceilings under its lofty roof, was pervaded by tire snroke 
swaying to and fro in the faint cross draughts playing in the 
obscurity of many lofty roonrs and barnlike passages. Once one of 
tire swinging shutters came against tire wall with a single sharp 
crack, as if pushed by air impatient hand. A piece of paper 
scurried out from sonre where, rustling along the landing. The 
man, whoever he was, did not darken tire lighted doorway. Twice 
tire capataz, advancing a couple of steps out of his corner, craned 
his neck in the hope of catching sight of what he would be at so 
quietly in there. But every time he saw only tire distorted shadow 
of broad shoulders and bowed head. He was doing apparently 
nothing, and stirred not from the spot, as though he were 
meditating— or, perhaps, reading a paper. And not a sound issued 
from the room. 

Once nrore tire capataz stepped back. He wondered who it 
was— sonre Monterist? But he dreaded to show himself. To 
discover his presence on shore, unless after many days, would, he 
believed, endanger tire treasure. With his own knowledge 
possessing his whole soul, it seenred impossible that anybody in 
Sulaco should fail to jump at tire right surnrise. After a couple of 



weeks or so it would be different. Who could tell he had not 
returned overland from some port beyond the limits of die 
republic. The existence of die treasure confused his dioughts with 
a peculiar sort of anxiety, as diough his life had become bound up 
with it. It rendered him timorous for a moment before that 
enigmatic, lighted door. Devil take die fellow! He did not want to 
see him. There would he nothing to learn from his face, known or 
unknown. He was a fool to waste his time there in waiting. 

Less than five minutes after entering die place die capataz 
began his retreat. He got away down die stairs with perfect success, 
gave one upward look over his shoulder at die light on die landing, 
and ran stealdiily across die hall. But at die very moment he was 
turning out of die great door, with his mind fixed upon escaping 
die notice of die man upstairs, somebody he had not heard 
coming briskly along die front ran full into him. Bodi muttered a 
stilled exclamation of surprise, and leaped back and stood still, 
each indistinct to die odier. Nostromo was silent. The otiier man 
spoke first, in an amazed and deadened tone. 

"Who are you?" 

Already Nostromo had seemed to recognize Dr. Monygham. 
He had no doubt now. He hesitated die space of a second. The 
idea of bolting widiout a word presented itself to his mind. No use! 
An inexplicable repugnance to pronounce the name by which he 
was known kept him silent a littie longer. At last he said, in a low 
voice: 

"A cargador." 

He walked up to die odier. Dr. Monygham had received a 
shock. He flung his arms up and cried out his wonder aloud, 
forgetting himself before, die marvel of this meeting. Nostromo 
angrily warned him to moderate his voice. The custom house was 
not so deserted as it looked to be. There was somebody in the 
lighted room above. 

There is no more evanescent quality in an accomplished fact 
dian its wonderfulness. Solicited incessandy by die considerations 
affecting its fears and desires, die human mind turns naturally away 
from die marvelous side of events. And it was in the most natural 
way possible that the doctor asked diis man whom, only two 
minutes before he believed to have been drowned in die gulf: 

"You have seen somebody up diere? Have you?" 

"No, I have not seen him." 

"Then how do you know?" 

"I was running away from his shadow when we met." 

"His shadow?" 

"Yes. His shadow in die lighted room," said Nostromo, in a 
contemptuous tone. Leaning back with folded arms at die foot of 
die immense building, he dropped his head, biting his lips slightly, 
and not looking at die doctor. "Now," he diought to himself, "he 



will begin asking me about the treasure." 

But the doctor's thoughts were concerned with an event not as 
marvelous as Nostromo's reappearance, but in itself much less 
clear. Why had Sotillo taken himself off, with his whole command, 
with diis suddenness and secrecy? What did this move portend? 
However, it dawned upon die doctor that the man upstairs was 
one of the officers left behind by die disappointed colonel to 
communicate with him. 

"I believe he is waiting for me," he said. 

"It is possible." 

"I must see. Do not go away yet, capataz." 

"Go away, where?" muttered Nostromo. 

Already die doctor had left him. He remained leaning against 
die wall staring at the dark water of the harbor; the shrilling of 
cicalas filled his ears. An invincible vagueness coming over his 
dioughts took from diem all power to determine his will. 

"Capataz! Capataz!" die doctor's voice called urgendy from 
above. 

The sense of betrayal and ruin floated upon his sombre 
indifference as upon a sluggish sea of pitch. But he stepped out 
from under die wall, and looking up saw Dr. Monygham leaning 
out of a lighted window. 

"Come up and see what Sotillo has done. You need not fear 
the man up here." 

He answered by a slight, bitter laugh Fear a man! The capataz 
of die Sulaco cargadores fear a man! It angered him diat anybody 
should suggest such a diing It angered him to be disarmed and 
skulking and in danger because of die accursed treasure, which was 
of so litde account to die people who had tied it round his neck. 
He could not shake off the worry of it. To Nostromo die doctor 
represented all these people. . . . And he had never even asked 
after it. Not a word of inquiry about die most desperate 
undertaking of his life. 

Thinking these thoughts, Nostromo passed again through the 
cavernous hall, where the smoke was considerably thinned, and 
went up die stairs, not so warm to his feet now, towards the streak 
of light at die top. The doctor appeared in it for a moment, 
agitated and impatient. 

"Come up! Come up!" 

At die moment of crossing the doorway the capataz 
experienced a shock of surprise. The man had not moved. He saw 
his shadow in the same place. He started, then stepped in with a 
feeling of being about to solve a mystery. 

It was very simple. For an infinitesimal fraction of a second, 
against die light of two flaring and guttering candles, dirough a 
blue, pungent, thin haze which made his eyes smart, he saw the 
man standing, as he had imagined him, with his back to die door, 



casting an enormous and distorted shadow upon the wall. Swifter 
than a flash of lightning followed the impression of his constrained, 
toppling attitude— the shoulders projecting forward, the head sunk 
low upon the breast. Then he distinguished the arms behind his 
back, and wrenched so terribly that the two clinched fists, lashed 
together, had been forced up higher than the shoulder blades. 
From there his eyes traced in one instantaneous glance the hide 
rope going upward from the tied wrists, over a heavy beam, and 
down to a staple in the wall. He did not want to look at the rigid 
legs, at the feet hanging down nervelessly, with their bare toes 
some six inches above the floor, to know that the man had been 
given the estrapade till he had swooned. His first impulse was to 
dash forward and sever tire rope at one blow. He felt for his knife. 
He had no knife— not even a knife! He stood quivering, and tire 
doctor, perched on the edge of tire table, facing thoughtfully tire 
cruel and lamentable sight, his chin in his hand, uttered without 
stirring: 

"Tortured, and shot dead through tire breast— getting cold." 

This information calmed tire capataz. One of tire candles 
flickering in the socket went out. '"Who did this?" he asked. 

"Sotillo, I tell you. Who else? Tortured— of course. But why 
shot?" The doctor looked fixedly at Nostromo, who shrugged his 
shoulders slightly. "And, nrark, shot suddenly, on inrpulse. It is 
evident. I wish I had his secret." 

Nostromo had advanced and stooped slightly to look. "I seenr 
to have seen that face somewhere," he nruttered. "Who is he?" 

The doctor turned his eyes upon him again. "I nray yet conre 
to envying his fate. What do you think of that, capataz? Eh?" 

But Nostromo did not even hear these words. Seizing tire 
remaining light he thrust it under tire drooping head. The doctor 
sat oblivious, with a lost gaze. Then tire heavy iron candlestick, as if 
struck out of Nostromo's hand, clattered on tire floor. 

"Hullo!" exclaimed the doctor, looking up with a start. He 
could hear tire capataz stagger against tire table and gasp. In the 
sudden extinction of tire light within, tire dead blackness sealing 
the window frames became alive with stars to his sight. 

"Of course, of course," tire doctor nruttered to him self, in 
English. "Enough to make him junrp out of his skin." 

Nostromo's heart seenred to force itself into his throat. His 
head swam. Hirsch! The man was Hirsch! He held on tight to tire 
edge, of tire table. 

"But he w r as hiding in the lighter," he alnrost shouted. His 
voice fell. "In tire lighter, and— and— " 

"And Sotillo brought him in," said tire doctor. "He is no nrore 
startling to you than you were to nre. What I want to know is how 
he induced sonre compassionate soul to shoot him." 

"So Sotillo know r s— " began Nostromo, in a nrore equable 



voice. 

"Everything!" interrupted the doctor. 

The capataz was heard striking die tahle widi his fist. 
"Everything? What are you saying, there? Everything? Knows 
everydiing? It is impossible! Everything?" 

"Of course. What do you mean by impossible? I tell you I 
have heard this Hirsch questioned last night, here, in this very 
room. He knew your name, Decoud's name, and all about the 
loading of die silver. . . . The lighter was cut in two. He was 
groveling in abject terror before Sotillo, but he remembered that 
much. What do you want more? He knew least about himself. 
They found him clinging to their anchor. He must have caught at it 
just as die lighter went to the bottom." 

"Went to die bottom?" repeated Nostromo, slowly. "Sotillo 
believes diat? Bueno!" 

The doctor, a little impatiently, was unable to imagine what 
else could anybody believe. Yes, Sotillo believed tiiat die lighter 
was sunk, and die capataz of die cargadores, togedier widi Martin 
Decoud and perhaps one or two odier political fugitives, had been 
drowned. 

"I told you well, Senor Doctor," remarked Nostromo, at diat 
point, "diat Sotillo did not know everydiing." 

"Eh? What do you mean?" 

"He did not know I was not dead." 

"Neidier did we" 

"And you did not care— none of you caballeros on die wharf— 
once you got off a man of flesh and blood like yourselves on a 
fool's business diat could not end well." 

"You forget, capataz, I was not on die wharf. And I did not 
diink well of die business. So you need not taunt me. I tell you 
what, man, we had but little leisure to diink of die dead. Deadi 
stands near behind us all. You were gone " 

"I went, indeed!" broke in Nostromo. "And for the sake of 
what— tell me?" 

"All! diat is your own affair," die doctor said, roughly. "Do not 
ask me." 

Their flowing murmurs paused in die dark. Perched on die 
edge of die table widi slighdy averted faces, diey felt dieir 
shoulders touch, and dieir eyes remained directed towards an 
upright shape nearly lost in die obscurity of die inner part of die 
room, diat widi projecting head and shoulders, in ghasdy 
immobility, seemed intent on catching every word. 

"Muy bien," Nostromo muttered, at last. "So be it. Teresa was 
right. It is my own affair." 

"Teresa is dead," remarked die doctor, absendy, while his 
mind followed a new line of diought suggested by what might have 
been called Nostromo's return to life. "She died, die poor 



woman. 

"Without a priest?" the capataz asked, anxiously. 

"What a question! Who could have got a priest for her last 
night?" 

"May God have her soul!" ejaculated Nostromo, with a gloomy 
and hopeless fervor which had no time to surprise Dr. Monygham 
before, reverting to their previous conversation, he continued in a 
sinister tone, "Si, Senor Doctor. As you were saying, it is my own 
affair. A very desperate affair." 

"There are no two men in this part of the world that could 
have saved themselves by swimming, as you have done," the 
doctor said, admiringly. 

And again there was silence between those two men. They 
were both reflecting, and the diversity of their natures made their 
droughts, born fronr their meeting, swing afar fronr each other. 
The doctor, impelled to risky action by his loyalty to die Goulds, 
wondered with thankfulness at tire chain of accident which had 
brought tlrat man back where he would be of tire greatest use in 
tire work of saving tire San Tome nrine. The doctor was loyal to 
the mine. It presented itself to his fifty-year-old eyes in tire shape of 
a little woman in a soft dress with a long train, with a head 
attractively over-weighted by a great nrass of fair hair, and tire 
delicate preciousness of her inner worth, partaking of a genr and a 
flower, revealed in every attitude of her person. As tire dangers 
thickened round tire San Tome nrine, this illusion acquired force, 
permanency, and authority. It clainred him at last! This clainr, 
exalted by a spiritual detachment fronr tire usual sanctions of hope 
and reward, nrade Dr. Monygham's drinking, acting individuality 
extremely dangerous to himself and to others, all his scruples 
vanishing in tire proud feeling tlrat his devotion was tire only tiring 
tlrat stood between air adnrirable woman and a frightful disaster. 

It was a sort of intoxication which nrade him utterly indifferent 
to Decoud's fate, but left his wits perfectly clear for tire 
appreciation of Decoud's political idea. It was a good idea, and 
Barrios was tire only instrument of its realization. The doctor's 
soul, withered and struck by tire shame of a moral disgrace, 
became implacable in the expansion of its tenderness. Nostronro's 
return was providential. He did not think of him humanely, as of a 
fellow creature just escaped fronr tire jaws of death. The capataz 
for him was the only possible nressenger to Cayta. The very man 
The doctor's misanthropic mistrust of mankind (tire bitterer 
because based on personal failure) did not lift him sufficiently 
above common weaknesses. He was under tire spell of air 
established reputation. Trunrpeted by Captain Mitchell, grown in 
repetition, and fixed in general assent, Nostronro's faithfulness had 
never been questioned by Dr. Monygham as a fact. It was not 
likely to be questioned now he stood in desperate need of it 



himself. Dr. Monygham was human; he accepted die popular 
conception of die capataz's incorruptihility simply hecause no 
word or fact had ever contradicted a mere affirmation. It seemed 
to be a part of die man, like his whiskers or his teedi. It was 
impossible to conceive him odierwise. The question was whether 
he would consent to go on such a dangerous and desperate errand. 
The doctor was observant enough to have become aware from die 
first of something peculiar in die man's temper. He was no doubt 
sore about die loss of die silver. 

"It will be necessary to take him into my fullest confidence," he 
said to himself, widi a certain acuteness of insight into die nature 
he had to deal with. 

On Nostromo's side die silence had been full of black 
irresolution, anger, and mistrust. He was die first to break it, 
however. 

"The swimming was no great matter," he said. "It is what went 
before— and what conies after diat— " 

He did not quite finish what he meant to say, breaking off 
short, as though his thought had butted against a solid obstacle. 
The doctor's mind pursued its own schemes with Machiavellian 
subtiety. He said, as sympadietically as he was able: 

"It is unfortunate, capataz. But no one would diink of blaming 
you. Very unfortunate. To begin with, the treasure ought never to 
have left die mountain. But it was Decoud who— However, he is 
dead. There is no need to talk of him." 

"No," assented Nostromo, as die doctor paused, "diere is no 
need to talk of dead men. But I am not dead yet." 

"You are all right. Only a man of your intrepidity could have 
saved himself." 

In diis Dr. Monygham was sincere. He esteemed highly die 
intrepidity of diat man, whom he valued but littie, being 
disillusioned as to mankind in general because of die particular 
instance in which his own manhood had failed. Having had to 
encounter singlehanded during his period of eclipse many physical 
dangers, he was well aware of die most dangerous element 
common to diem all— of die crushing, paralyzing sense of human 
littieness, which is what really defeats a man struggling with natural 
forces, alone, far from die eyes of his fellows. He was eminendy fit 
to appreciate die mental image he made for himself of die capataz, 
after hours of tension and anxiety precipitated suddenly into an 
abyss of waters and darkness, without eardi or sky, and confronting 
it not only with an undismayed mind but widi sensible success. Of 
course die man was an incomparable swimmer, diat was known; 
but the doctor judged diat diis instance testified to a still greater 
intrepidity of spirit. It was pleasing to him; he augured well from it 
for die success of die arduous mission widi which he meant to 
intrust die capataz, so marvelously restored to usefulness. And in a 



tone vaguely gratified he observed: 

"It must have been terribly dark!" 

"It was die worst darkness of the Golfo," die capataz assented, 
briefly. He was mollified by what seemed a sign of some faint 
interest in such diings as had befallen him, and dropped a few 
descriptive phrases widi an affected and curt nonchalance. At diat 
moment he felt communicative. He expected die continuance of 
diat interest which, whether accepted or rejected, would have 
restored to him his personality— die only diing lost in that 
desperate affair. But the doctor, engrossed by a desperate 
adventure of his own. was terrible in die pursuit of his idea. He let 
an exclamation of regret escape him. 

"I could almost wish you had shouted and shown a light." 

This unexpected utterance astounded die capataz by its 
character of coldblooded atrocity. It was as much as to say: "I wish 
you had shown yourself a coward; I wish you had had your diroat 
cut for your pains." Naturally he referred it to himself, whereas it 
related only to die silver, being uttered simply and widi many 
mental reservations. Surprise and rage rendered him speechless, 
and die doctor pursued, practically unheard by Nostromo, whose 
stirred blood was beating violentiy in his ears: 

"For I am convinced Sotillo in possession of die silver would 
have turned short round and made for some small port abroad. 
Economically it would have been wasteful, but still less wasteful 
than having it sunk. It was die next best diing to having it at hand in 
some safe place and using part of it to buy up Sotillo. But I doubt 
whether Don Carlos would have ever made up his mind to it. He 
is not fit for Costaguana, and diat is a fact, capataz." 

The capataz had mastered die fury that was like a tempest in 
his ears in time to hear die name of Don Carlos. He seemed to 
have come out of it a changed man— a man who spoke dioughtfully 
in a soft and even voice. 

"And would Don Carlos have been content if I had 
surrendered this treasure?" 

"I should not wonder if diey were all of diat way of diinking 
now," die doctor said, grimly. "I was never consulted. Decoud had 
it his own way. Their eyes are opened by this time, I should diink. 
I for one know diat if diat silver turned up this moment 
miraculously ashore, I would give it to Sotillo. And as diings stand 
I would be approved." 

"Turned up miraculously," repeated die capataz, very low; 
then raised his voice. "That, sehor, would be a greater miracle dian 
any saint could perform." 

"I believe you, capataz," said die doctor, dryly. He went on to 
develop his view of Sotillo's dangerous influence upon die 
situation. And die capataz, listening as if in a dream, felt himself of 
as litde account as die indistinct, motionless shape of die dead man 



whom he saw upright under die beam, widi his air of listening also, 
disregarded, forgotten, like a terrible example of neglect. 

'Is it for an unconsidered and foolish whim diat diey came to 
me, then?" he interrupted, suddenly. "Had I not done enough for 
diem to be of some account, por Dios? Is it that die hombres 
linos— the gendemen— need not diink as long as diere is a man of 
die people ready to risk his body and soul? Or, perhaps, we have 
no souls— like dogs." 

"There was Decoud, too, widi his plan," die doctor reminded 
him again. 

"Si! And die rich man in San Francisco who had somediing to 
do widi diat treasure, too— what do I know? No! I have heard too 
many diings. It seems to me diat every diing is permitted to the 
rich." 

"I understand, capataz," die doctor began. 

"What capataz?" broke in Nostromo, in a forcible but even 
voice. "The capataz is undone, destroyed. There is no capataz. Oh 
no! You will find die capataz no more." 

"Come, diis is childish," remonstrated die doctor; and die 
odier calmed down suddenly. 

"I have been indeed like a little child," he muttered. 

And as his eyes met again die shape of die murdered man 
suspended in his awful immobility, which seemed die 
uncomplaining immobility of attention, he asked, wondering 
gendy: 

"Why did Sotillo give die estrapade to this pitiful wretch? Do 
you know? No torture could have been worse dian his fear. Killing 
I can understand. His anguish was intolerable to behold. But why 
should he torment him like this? He could tell no more." 

"No. He could tell nodiing more. Any sane man would have 
seen diat. He had told him everything. But I tell you what it is, 
capataz; Sotillo would not believe what he was told. Not 
everything." 

"What is it he would not believe? I cannot understand." 

"I can, because I have seen die man. He refuses to believe diat 
the treasure is lost." 

"What?" the capataz cried out, in a discomposed tone. 

"That startles you— eh?" 

"Am I to understand, senor," Nostromo went on, in a 
deliberate and, as it were, watchful tone, "diat Sotillo diinks the 
treasure has been saved by some means?" 

"No! no! That would be impossible," said die doctor, with 
conviction; and Nostromo emitted a grunt in die dark. "That 
would be impossible. He diinks diat die silver was no longer in die 
lighter when she was sunk. He has convinced himself diat the 
whole show of getting it away to sea is a mere sham got up to 
deceive Gamacho and his Nationals, Pedrito Montero, Sefior 



Fuentes, our new Gefe Politico, and himself, too. Only, he says, he 
is no such fool." 

"But he is devoid of sense. He is die greatest imbecile diat ever 
called himself a colonel in diis country of evil," growled Nostromo. 

"He is no more unreasonable dran many sensible men," said 
die doctor. "He has convinced himself diat die treasure can be 
found because he desires passionately to possess himself of it. And 
he is also afraid of his officers turning upon him and going over to 
Pedrito, whom he has not die courage eidier to fight or trust. Do 
you see that, capataz? He need fear no desertion as long as some 
hope remains of that enormous plunder turning up. I have made it 
my business to keep this very hope up." 

"You have!" die capataz de cargadores repeated cautiously. 
"Well, that is wonderful. And how long do you diink you are going 
to keep it up?" 

"As long as I can." 

"What does diat mean?" 

"I can tell you exactly. As long as I live," the doctor retorted, in 
a stubborn voice. Then in a few words he described die story of 
his arrest and die circumstances of his release. "I was going back to 
diat silly scoundrel when we met," he concluded. 

Nostromo had listened with profound attention. "You have 
made up your mind, dien, to a speedy deadi," he muttered 
through his clinched teedi. 

"Perhaps! my illustrious capataz," die doctor said, testily. "You 
are not die only one here who can look an ugly deadi in die face." 

"No doubt," mumbled Nostromo, loud enough to be 
overheard. "There may be even more dian two fools in diis place. 
Who knows?" 

"And diat is my affair," said die doctor, curtly. 

"As taking out die accursed silver to sea was my affair," 
retorted Nostromo. "I see. Bueno! Each of us has his reasons. But 
you were die last man I conversed with before I started, and you 
talked to me as if I were a fool." 

Nostromo had a great distaste for die doctor's sardonic 
treatment of his great reputation. Decoud's faintly ironic 
recognition used to make him uneasy; but die familiarity of a man 
like Don Martin was flattering, whereas the doctor was a nobody. 
He could remember him a penniless outcast slinking about the 
streets of Sulaco widiout a single friend or acquaintance till Don 
Carlos Gould took him into die service of die mine. 

"You may be very wise," he went on, dioughtfully, staring into 
die obscurity of die room pervaded by die gruesome enigma of die 
tortured and murdered Hirsch. "But I am not such a fool as when 
I started. I have learned one tiling since, and diat is diat you are a 
dangerous man." 

Dr. Monygham was too startled to do more dian exclaim: 



"What is it you say?" 

"If he could speak he would say die same tiling," pursued 
Nostromo, widi a nod of his shadowy head silhouetted against die 
starlit window. 

"I do not understand you," said Dr. Monygham, faindy. 

"No? Perhaps if you had not confirmed Sotillo in his madness 
he would have heen in no haste to give die estrapade to that 
miserable Hirsch." 

The doctor started at die suggestion. But his devotion, 
ahsorhing all his sensihilities, had left his heart steeled against 
remorse and pity. Still, for complete relief, he felt die necessity of 
repelling it loudly and contemptuously. 

"Bah! You dare to tell me that, with a man like Sotillo. I 
confess I did not give a thought to Hirsch. If I had it would have 
heen useless. Anyhody can see that die luckless wretch was 
doomed from die moment he caught hold of die anchor. He was 
doomed, I tell you! Just as I myself am doomed— most prohahly." 

This is what Dr. Monygham said in answer to Nostromo's 
remark, which was plausihle enough to prick his conscience. He 
was not a callous man. But the necessity, die magnitude, the 
importance of die task he had taken upon himself dwarfed all 
merely humane considerations. He had undertaken it in a fanatical 
spirit. He did not like it. To lie, to deceive, to circumvent even the 
hasest of mankind was odious to him. It was odious to him by 
training, instinct, and tradition. To do these tilings in die character 
of a traitor was ahhorrent to his nature and terrihle to his feelings. 
He had made that sacrifice in a spirit of ahasement. He had said to 
himself, hitterly: "I am die only one fit for that dirty work." And he 
helieved this. He was not suhtle. His simplicity was such that 
though he had no sort of heroic idea of seeking death, die risk, 
deadly enough, to which he exposed himself had a sustaining and 
comforting effect. To that spiritual state die fate of Hirsch 
presented itself as part of die general atrocity of tilings. He 
considered diat episode practically. What did it mean? Was it a 
sign of some dangerous change in Sotillo's delusion? That die man 
should have heen killed like diis was what the doctor could not 
understand. 

"Yes. But why shot?" he murmured to himself. Nostromo kept 
very still. 



IX 



DISTRACTED hetween doubts and hopes, dismayed by die 
sound of bells pealing out die arrival of Pedrito Montero, Sotillo 
had spent the morning in batding with his dioughts— a contest to 
which he was unequal from die vacuity of his mind and the 



violence of his passions. Disappointment, greed, anger, and fear 
made a tumult in the colonel's hreast louder dian the din of hells 
in die town. Nodiing he had planned had come to pass. Neitiier 
Sulaco nor die silver of die mine had fallen into his hands. He had 
performed no military exploit to secure his position, and had 
ohtained no enormous hooty to make off with. Pedrito Montero, 
either as friend or foe, filled him with dread. The sound of hells 
maddened him. 

Imagining at first that he might he attacked at once, he had 
made his hattalion stand to arms on die shore. He walked to and 
fro all die length of die room, stopping sometimes to gnaw the 
fingertips of his right hand with a lurid sideway glare fixed on die 
floor; then with a sullen, repelling glance all round, he would 
resume his tramping in savage aloofness. His hat, horsewhip, 
sword, and revolver were lying on die tahle. His officers, crowding 
die window giving die view of die town gate, disputed among 
themselves die use of his field glass, hought last year on long credit 
from Anzani. It passed from hand to hand, and die possessor for 
die time heing was hesieged by anxious inquiries. 

"There is nothing; there is nothing to see," he would repeat, 
impatiently. 

There was nothing. And when the picket in die bushes near 
die Casa Viola had been ordered to fall back upon die main body, 
no stir of life appeared on die stretch of dusty and arid land 
between die town and the waters of die port. But late in the 
afternoon a horseman issuing from die gate was made out riding 
up fearlessly. It was an emissary from Sefior Fuentes. Being all 
alone he was allowed to come on. Dismounting at die great door 
he greeted die silent bystanders with cheery impudence and 
begged to be taken up at once to the "muy valiente" colonel. 

Sefior Fuentes, on entering upon his functions of Gefe 
Politico, had turned his diplomatic abilities to getting hold of die 
harbor as well as of the mine. The man he pitched upon to 
negotiate with Sotillo was a notary public whom die revolution had 
found languishing in the common jail on a charge of forging 
documents. Liberated by die mob along with die odier "victims of 
Blanco tyranny," he had hastened to offer his sendees to die new 
government. 

He set out determined to display much zeal and eloquence in 
trying to induce Sotillo to come into town alone for a conference 
with Pedrito Montero. Nodiing was furdier from die colonel's 
intentions. The mere fleeting idea of trusting himself into the 
famous Pedrito's hands had made him feel unwell several times. It 
was out of die question— it was madness. And to put himself in 
open hostility was madness, too. It would render impossible a 
systematic search for diat treasure, for that wealdi of silver which 
he seemed to feel somewhere about, to scent somewhere near. 



But where? Where? Heavens! Where? Oh! why had he allowed 
that doctor to go? Imbecile that he was. But no! It was the only 
right course, he reflected, distractedly, while tire messenger waited 
downstairs chatting agreeably to the officers. It was in that 
scoundrelly doctor's true interest to return with positive 
information. But what, if anything, stopped him? A general 
prohibition to leave the town, for instance! There would be 
patrols! 

The colonel, seizing his head in his hands, turned upon 
himself as if struck with vertigo. A flash of craven inspiration 
suggested to him air expedient not unknown to European 
statesnren when they wish to delay a difficult negotiation. Booted 
and spurred, he scrambled into tire hammock with undignified 
haste. His handsome face had turned yellow with tire strain of 
weighty cares. The ridge of his shapely nose had grown sharp; the 
audacious nostrils appeared mean and pinched. The velvety, 
caressing glance of his fine eyes seenred dead and even 
deconrposed, for these alnrond shaped, languishing orbs had 
beconre inappropriately bloodshot with much sinister 
sleeplessness. He addressed tire surprised envoy of Senor Fuentes 
in a deadened, exhausted voice. It came pathetically feeble fronr 
under a vast pile of ponchos which buried his elegant person right 
up to tire black mustaches, uncurled, pendent, in sign of bodily 
prostration and mental incapacity. Fever, fever— a heavy fever had 
overtaken tire "nruy valiente" colonel. A wavering wildness of 
expression caused by tire passing waves of a slight colic which had 
declared itself suddenly, and tire rattling teeth of repressed panic 
had a genuineness which inrpressed tire envoy. It was a cold fit. 
The colonel explained that he was unable to think, to listen, to 
speak. With air appearance of superhuman effort tire colonel 
gasped out that he was not in a state to return a suitable reply or to 
execute any of his Excellency's orders. But, to-nrorrow! To- 
morrow! Air! to-nrorrow. Let his Excellency Don Pedro be without 
uneasiness. The brave Esmeralda regiment held tire harbor, held— 
And closing his eyes he rolled his aching head like a half delirious 
invalid under tire inquisitive stare of tire envoy, who was obliged to 
bend down over tire hammock in order to catch tire painful and 
broken accents. Mean time, Colonel Sotillo trusted that his 
Excellency's humanity would pernrit tire doctor, tire English 
doctor, to come out of town with his case of foreign renredies to 
attend upon him. He begged anxiously his worship tire caballero 
now present for tire grace of looking in as he passed the Casa 
Gould, and informing tire English doctor, who was probably there, 
that his services were immediately required by Colonel Sotillo, 
lying ill of fever in tire customhouse. Immediately. Most urgently 
required. Awaited with extreme impatience. A thousand thanks. 
He closed his eyes wearily and would not open them again, lying 



perfectly still, deaf, dumb, insensible, overcome, vanquished, 
crushed, annihilated by the fell disease. 

But as soon as the other had shut after him the door of the 
landing, the colonel leaped out widi a fling of bodi feet in an 
avalanche of woolen coverings. His spurs having become 
entangled in a perfect welter of ponchos, he nearly pitched on his 
head, and did not recover his balance till the middle of the room. 
Concealed behind die half closed jalousies he listened to what 
went on below. 

The envoy had already mounted, and turning to die morose 
officers occupying die great doorway, took off his hat formally. 

"Caballeros," he said, in a very loud tone, "allow me to 
recommend you to take great care of your colonel. It has done me 
much honor and gratification to have seen you all, a fine body of 
men exercising die soldierly virtue of patience in diis exposed 
situation, where diere is much sun and no water to speak of, while 
a town full of wine and feminine charms is ready to embrace you 
for die brave men you are. Caballeros, I have die honor to salute 
you. There will be much dancing tonight in Sulaco. Goodbye!" 

But he reined in his horse and inclined his head sideway on 
seeing die old major step out, very tall and meagre in a straight, 
narrow coat coming down to his ankles, as [if] it were die casing of 
the regimental colors rolled round dieir staff 

The intelligent old warrior, after enunciating in a dogmatic 
tone die general proposition diat die "world was full of traitors," 
went on pronouncing deliberately a panegyric upon Sotillo. He 
ascribed to him with leisurely emphasis every virtue under heaven, 
summing it all up in an absurd colloquialism current among die 
lower class of Occidentals (especially about Esmeralda). "And," he 
concluded, with a sudden rise in die voice, "a man of many teedi— 
'hombre de muchos dientes.' Si, sehor. As to us," he pursued, 
portentous and impressive, "your worship is beholding die finest 
body of officers in the republic, men unequalled for valor and 
sagacity, 'y hombres de muchos dientes.'" 

"What? All of them?" inquired die disreputable envoy of 
Sehor Fuentes, with a faint, derisive smile. 

"Todos. Si, sehor," die major affirmed gravely, widi conviction. 
"Men of many teetii." 

The other wheeled his horse to face die portal resembling die 
high gate of a dismal barn. He raised himself in his stirrups, 
extended one arm. He was a facetious scoundrel, entertaining for 
tiiese stupid Occidentals a feeling of great scorn natural in a native 
from the central provinces. The folly of Esmeraldians especially 
aroused his amused contempt. He began an oration upon Pedro 
Montero, keeping a solemn countenance. He flourished his hand 
as if introducing him to dieir notice. And when he saw every face 
set, all die eyes fixed upon his lips, he began to shout a sort of 



catalogue of perfections: "Generous, valorous, affable, profound 
(he snatched off his hat enthusiastically)— a statesman, an invincible 
chief of partisans—" he dropped his voice startlingly to a deep, 
hollow note— "and a dentist." 

He was off instantly at a smart walk; the rigid straddle of his 
legs, die turned out feet, the stiff back, the rakish slant of the 
sombrero above the square, motionless set of the shoulders 
expressing an infinite, awe inspiring impudence. 

Upstairs, behind the jalousies, Sotillo did not move for a long 
time. The audacity of the fellow appalled him What were his 
officers saying below? They were saying nothing. Complete 
silence. He quaked. It was not thus that he had imagined himself 
at that stage of the expedition. He had seen himself triumphant, 
unquestioned, appeased, the idol of the soldiers, weighing in secret 
complacency the agreeable alternatives of power and wealth open 
to his choice. Alas! how different! Distracted, restless, supine, 
burning with fury or frozen with terror, he felt a dread as 
fathomless as the sea creep upon him from every side. That rogue 
of a doctor had to come out with his information. That was clear. 
It would be of no use to him— alone. He could do nothing with it 
Malediction! The doctor would never come out. He was probably 
under arrest already, shut up together with Don Carlos. He 
laughed aloud insanely. Ha! ha! ha! ha! It was Pedrito Montero 
who would get the information. Ha! ha! ha! ha!— and the silver. Ha! 

All at once, in the midst of the laugh, he became motionless 
and silent as if turned into stone. He, too, had a prisoner. A 
prisoner who must, must know the real truth. He would have to be 
made to speak. And Sotillo, who all that time had not quite 
forgotten Hirsch, felt an inexplicable reluctance at the notion of 
proceeding to extremities. 

He felt a reluctance— part of that unfathomable dread that crept 
on all sides upon him. He remembered reluctantly, too, the 
dilated eyes of the hide merchant, his contortions, his loud sobs 
and protestations. It was not compassion or even mere nervous 
sensibility. The fact was that though he never for a moment 
believed his story— he could not believe it; nobody could believe 
such nonsense— yet those accents of despairing truth impressed 
him disagreeably. They made him feel sick. And he suspected, 
also, that the man might have gone mad with fear. A lunatic is a 
hopeless subject. Bali! A pretence. Nothing but a pretence. He 
would know how to deal with that. 

He was working himself up to the right pitch of ferocity. His 
fine eyes squinted slightly; he clapped his hands; a barefooted 
orderly appeared noiselessly— a corporal, with his bayonet hanging 
on his thigh and a stick in his hand. 

The colonel gave his orders, and presently the miserable 
Hirsch, pushed in by several soldiers, found him frowning awfully 



in a broad armchair, hat on head, knees wide apart, arms akimbo, 
masterful, imposing, irresistible, haughty, sublime, terrible. 

Hirsch, with his arms tied behind his back, had been bundled 
violently into one of the smaller rooms. For many hours he 
remained apparently forgotten, stretched lifelessly on tire floor. 
From that solitude, full of despair and terror, he was torn out 
brutally, with kicks and blows, passive, sunk in hebetude. He 
listened to threats and admonitions, and afterwards nrade his usual 
answers to questions, with his chin sunk on his breast, his hands 
tied behind his back, swaying a little in front of Sotillo, and never 
looking up. When he was forced to hold up his head, by means of 
a bayonet point prodding him under tire chin, his eyes had a 
vacant, trancelike stare, and drops of perspiration as big as peas 
were seen hailing down the dirt, bruises, and scratches of his white 
face. Then they stopped suddenly. 

Sotillo looked at him in silence. "Will you depart from your 
obstinacy, you rogue?" he asked. Already a rope, whose one end 
was fastened to Senor Hirsch's wrists, had been thrown over a 
beam, and three soldiers held tire other end, waiting. He nrade no 
answer. His heavy lower lip hung stupidly. Sotillo nrade a sign. He 
was jerked up off his feet, and a yell of despair and agony burst out 
in tire roonr, filled tire passage of tire great building, rent tire air 
outside, caused ever}' soldier of tire camp along tire shore to look 
up at tire windows, started sonre of the officers in tire hall babbling 
excitedly, with shining eyes; others, setting their lips, looked 
gloomily at tire floor. 

Sotillo, followed by tire soldiers, had left tire roonr. The sentry 
on tire landing presented arms. Hirsch went on screanring all alone 
behind tire half closed jalousies, while tire sunshine, reflected fronr 
the water of tire harbor, nrade air ever running ripple of light high 
up on tire wall. He screamed with uplifted eyebrows and a wide 
open mouth— incredibly wide, black, enornrous, full of teeth- 
comical. 

In tire still burning air of tire windless afternoon he nrade the 
waves of his agony travel as far as tire O.S.N. Company's offices. 
Captain Mitchell on tire balcony, trying to nrake out what went on 
generally, had heard him faintly but distinctly, and tire feeble and 
appalling sound lingered in his ears after he had retreated indoors 
with blanched cheeks. He had been driven off tire balcony several 
times during that afternoon. 

Sotillo, irritable, moody, walked restlessly about, held 
consultations with his officers, gave contradictory orders in this 
shrill clamor pervading tire whole empty edifice. Sonre times there 
would be long and awful silences. Several times he had entered tire 
torture chamber, where his sword, horsewhip, revolver, and field 
glass were lying on tire table, to ask with forced calmness, "Will 
you speak tire truth now? No? I can wait." But he could not afford 



to wait much longer. That was just it. Every time he went in and 
came out with a slam of the door, the sentry on the landing 
presented arms and got in return a hlack, venomous, unsteady 
glance, which, in reality, saw nothing at all, heing merely die 
reflection of the soul within— a soul of gloomy hatred, irresolution, 
avarice, and fury. 

The sun had set when he went in once more. A soldier carried 
in two lighted candles and slunk out, shutting the door without 
noise. 

"Speak, thou Jewish child of the devil! The silver! The silver, I 
say! Where is it? Where have you foreign rogues hidden it? 
Confess or—" 

A slight quiver passed up the taut rope from the racked limbs, 
but the body of Senor Hirsch, enterprising business man from 
Esmeralda, hung under the heavy beam perpendicular and silent, 
facing the colonel awfully. The inflow of the night air, cooled by 
the snows of the Sierra, spread gradually a delicious freshness 
through the close heat of the room. 

"Speak— thief— scoundrel— picaro— or— " 

Sotillo had seized the horsewhip, and stood with his arm lifted 
up. For a word, for one little word, he felt he would have knelt, 
cringed, groveled on the floor before the drowsy, conscious stare 
of those fixed eyeballs starting out of the grimy, disheveled head 
that drooped very still with its mouth closed askew. The colonel 
ground his teeth and struck. The rope vibrated leisurely to the 
blow, like the long string of a pendulum starting from a rest. But 
no swinging motion was imparted to the body of Sefior Hirsch, the 
well known hide merchant of the coast. With a convulsive effort of 
the twisted arms it leaped up a few inches, curling upon itself like a 
fish on the end of a line. Senor Hirsch's head was flung back on 
his straining throat; his chin trembled. For a moment the rattle of 
his chattering teeth pervaded the vast, shadowy room, where the 
candles made a patch of light round the two flames burning side by 
side. And as Sotillo, staying his raised hand, waited for him to 
speak, with a sudden flash of a grin and a straining forward of die 
wrenched shoulders, he spat violently into his face. 

The uplifted whip fell, and die colonel sprang back with a low 
cry of dismay, as if aspersed by a jet of deadly venom. Quick as 
thought he snatched up his revolver and fired twice. The report 
and die concussion of die shots seemed to throw him at once from 
ungovernable rage into idiotic stupor. He stood with drooping jaw 
and stony eyes. What had he done? Sangre de Dios! what had he 
done? He was basely appalled at his impulsive act, sealing forever 
these lips from which so much was to be extorted. What could he 
say? How could he explain? Ideas of head long flight somewhere, 
anywhere, passed through his mind; even the craven and absurd 
notion of hiding under die table occurred to his cowardice. It was 



too late; his officers had rushed in tumultuously, in a great clatter 
of scahhards, clamoring with astonishment and wonder. But since 
they did not immediately proceed to plunge dieir swords into his 
hreast, tire hrazen side of his character asserted itself. Passing die 
sleeve of his uniform over his face he pulled himself togedier. His 
truculent glance turned slowly here and diere checked the noise 
where it fell; and die stiff body of die late Sehor Hirsch, merchant, 
after swaying imperceptibly, made a half turn and came to a rest in 
die midst of awed murmurs and uneasy shuffling. 

A voice remarked loudly, "Behold a man who will never speak 
again." And another, from die back row of faces, timid and 
pressing, cried out: 

"Why did you kill him, mi coronel?" 

"Because he has confessed everything," answered Sotillo, with 
die hardihood of desperation. He felt himself cornered. He 
brazened it out on die strength of his reputation with very fair 
success. His hearers thought him very capable of such an act. They 
were disposed to believe his flattering tale. There is no credulity so 
eager and blind as die credulity of covetousness, which, in its 
universal extent, measures die moral misery and die intellectual 
destitution of mankind. Ah! he had confessed everything, this 
factious Jew, this bribon. Good! Then he was no longer wanted. A 
sudden dense guffaw was heard from die senior captain— a 
bigheaded man, with little round eyes and monstrously fat cheeks 
which never moved. The old major, tall and fantastically ragged, 
like a scarecrow, walked round die body of the late Senor Hirsch, 
muttering to himself with ineffable complacency that like this there 
was no need to guard against any future treacheries of that rastrero. 
The others stared, shifting from foot to foot and whispering short 
remarks to each other. 

Sotillo buckled on his sword and gave curt, peremptory orders 
to hasten die retirement decided upon in die afternoon. Sinister, 
impressive, his wide sombrero pulled tight down upon his 
eyebrows, he marched first through the door in such disorder of 
mind that he forgot utterly to provide for Dr. Monygham's 
possible return. As they trooped out after him, one or two looked 
back hastily at die late Senor Hirsch, merchant of Esmeralda, left 
swinging rigidly at rest, alone with die two burning candles. In die 
emptiness of die room die burly shadow of head and shoulders on 
die wall had an air of life. 

Below die troops fell in silendy, and moved off by companies 
widiout drum or trumpet. The old scarecrow major commanded 
die rearguard; but die party he left behind with orders to fire die 
custom house (and "burn die carcass of the treacherous Jew where 
it hung") failed somehow in dieir haste to set die staircase properly 
alight. The body of die late Seiior Hirsch dwelt alone for a time in 
die dismal solitude of the vast unfinished building, resounding 



weirdly with sudden slams and clicks of doors and latches, witii 
rusding scurries of torn papers, and the tremulous sighs that at 
each gust of wind passed under die high roof. The light of die two 
candles burning before die perpendicular and breadiless 
immobility of die late Sehor Hirsch direw a gleam afar over land 
and water, like a signal in die night. He remained to starde 
Nostromo by his presence, and to puzzle Dr. Monygham by die 
mystery of his atrocious end. 

"But why shot?" die doctor again asked himself, audibly. This 
time he was answered by a dry laugh from Nostromo. 

"You seem much concerned at a very natural tiling, Senor 
Doctor. I wonder why? It is very likely that before long we shall all 
get shot one after another, if not by Sotillo, then by Pedrito, or 
Fuentes, or Gamacho. And we may even get the estrapade, too, or 
worse— quien sabe?— with your pretty tale of the silver you put into 
Sotillo's head." 

"It was in his head already," die doctor protested. "I only—" 

"Yes. And you only nailed it there so that the devil himself—" 

"That is precisely what I meant to do," caught up die doctor. 

"That is what you meant to do? Bueno! It is as I say. You are a 
dangerous man." 

Their voices, which, without rising, had been growing 
quarrelsome, ceased suddenly. The late Senor Hirsch, erect and 
shadow}? against die stars, seemed to be waiting, attentive, in 
impartial silence. 

But Dr. Monygham had no mind to quarrel with Nostromo. 
At this supremely critical point of Sulaco's fortunes it was borne 
upon him at last that this man was really indispensable, more 
indispensable than ever the infatuation of Captain Mitchell, his 
proud discoverer, could conceive; far beyond what Decoud's best 
dry raillery about "my illustrious friend, die unique capataz de 
cargadores," had ever invented. The fellow was unique. He was 
not "one in a thousand." He was absolutely the only one. The 
doctor surrendered. There was something in the genius of that 
Genoese seaman which dominated die destinies of great 
enterprises and of many people, die fortunes of Charles Gould, 
the fate of an admirable woman. At this last thought the doctor 
had to clear his throat before he could speak. 

In a completely changed tone he pointed out to the capataz 
that, to begin with, he personally ran no great risk. As far as 
everybody knew, he was dead. It was an enormous advantage. He 
had only to keep out of sight in die Casa Viola, where the old 
Garibaldino was known to be alone with his dead wife. The 
servants had all run away. No one would diink of searching for 
him there— or anywhere else on earth, for that matter. 

"That would be very true," Nostromo spoke up, bitterly, "if I 
had not met you." 



For a time the doctor kept silent. "Do you mean to say that 
you think I may give you away?" he asked, in an unsteady voice. 
"Why? Why should I do that?" 

"What do I know? Why not? To gain a day, perhaps. It would 
take Sotillo a day to give me the estrapade, and try some other 
tilings, perhaps, before he puts a bullet through my heart— as he 
did to that poor wretch here. Why not?" 

The doctor swallowed with difficulty. His throat had gone dry 
in a moment. It was not from indignation. The doctor, pathetically 
enough, believed that he had forfeited the right to be indignant 
with any one— for anything. It was simple dread. Had the fellow 
heard his story by some chance? If so, there was an end of his 
usefulness in that direction. The indispensable man escaped his 
influence because of that indelible blot which made him fit for 
dirty work. A feeling as of sickness came upon him. He would 
have given anything to know, but he dared not clear up the point. 
The fanaticism of his devotion, fed on the sense of his abasement, 
hardened his heart in sadness and scorn. 

"Why not, indeed?" he re-echoed sardonically. "Then the safe 
tiling for you is to kill me on the spot. I would defend myself. But 
you may just as well know I am going about unarmed." 

"Por Dios!" said the capataz, passionately. "You fine people 
are all alike. All dangerous. All betrayers of the poor who are your 
dogs." 

"You do not understand—" began the doctor, slowly. 

"I understand you all!" cried the other, with a violent 
movement as shadowy to the doctor's eyes as the persistent 
immobility of the late Senor Hirsch. "A poor man among you has 
got to look after himself. I say that you do not care for those that 
serve you. Look at me! After all these years, suddenly, here I find 
myself like one of these curs that bark outside the walls— without a 
kennel or a dry bone for my teeth. Caramba!" But he relented with 
a contemptuous fairness. "Of course," he went on, quietly, "I do 
not suppose that you would hasten to give me up to Sotillo, for 
example. It is not that. It is that I am nothing! Suddenly—" He 
swung his arm downward. "Nothing to any one," he repeated. 

The doctor breathed freely. "Listen, capataz," he said, 
stretching out his arm almost affectionately towards Nostromo's 
shoulder "I am going to tell you a very simple tiling. You are safe 
because you are needed. I would not give you away for any 
conceivable reason, because I want you." 

In the dark, Nostromo bit his lip. He had heard enough of 
that. He knew what that meant. No more of that for him. But he 
had to look after himself now, he thought. And he thought, too, 
that it would not be prudent to part in anger from his companion. 
The doctor, admitted to be a great healer, had, among the 
populace of Sulaco, the reputation of being an evil sort of man. It 



was based solidly on his personal appearance, which was strange, 
and on his rough, ironic manner— proofs visible, sensible, and 
incontrovertible of the doctor's malevolent disposition. And 
Nostromo was of the people. So he only grunted incredulously. 

"You, to speak plainly, are the only man," the doctor pursued. 
"It is in your power to save this town and . . . everybody from the 
destructive rapacity of men who—" 

"No, Senor," said Nostromo, sullenly. "It is not in my power to 
get the treasure back for you to give up to Sotillo, or Pedrito, or 
Gamacho. What do I know?" 

"Nobody expects the impossible," was the answer. 

"You have said it yourself— nobody," muttered Nostromo, in a 
gloomy, threatening tone. 

But Dr. Monygham, full of hope, disregarded the enigmatic 
words and the threatening tone. To their eyes, accustomed to 
obscurity, the late Sefior Hirsch, growing more distinct, seemed to 
have come nearer. And the doctor lowered his voice in exposing 
his scheme as though afraid of being overheard. 

He was taking the indispensable man into his fullest 
confidence. Its implied flattery and suggestion of great risks came 
with a familiar sound to the capataz. His mind, floating in 
irresolution and discontent, recognized it with bitterness. He 
understood well that the doctor was anxious to save the San Tome 
mine from annihilation. He would be nothing without it. It was his 
interest. Just as it had been the interest of Sefior Decoud, of the 
Blancos, and of the Europeans to get his cargadores on their side. 
His thought became arrested upon Decoud. What would happen 
to him? 

Nostromo's prolonged silence made the doctor uneasy. He 
pointed out, quite unnecessarily, that though for the present he 
was safe, he could not live concealed forever. The choice was 
between accepting the mission to Barrios, with all its dangers and 
difficulties, and leaving Sulaco by stealth, ingloriously, in poverty. 

"None of your friends could reward you and protect you just 
now, capataz. Not even Don Carlos himself." 

"I would have none of your protection and none of your 
rewards. I only wish I could trust your courage and your sense. 
When I return in triumph, as you say, with Barios, I may find you 
all destroyed. You have the knife at your throat now." 

It was the doctor's turn to remain silent in tire contemplation 
of horrible contingencies. 

"Well, we would trust your courage and your sense. And you, 
too, have a knife at your throat." 

"All! And whom am I to thank for that? What are your politics 
and your mines to me— your silver and your constitutions— your 
Don Carlos this and Don Jose that—" 

"I don't know," burst out the exasperated doctor. "There are 



innocent people in danger whose little finger is worth more than 
you or I and all the Rihierists together. I don't know. You should 
have asked yourself before you allowed Decoud to lead you into 
all this. It was your place to think like a man, but if you did not 
think dien, try to act like a man now. Did you imagine Decoud 
cared very much for what would happen to you?" 

"No more dian you care for what will happen to me," 
muttered die odier. 

"No. I care for what will happen to you as little as I care for 
what will happen to myself." 

"And all this because you are such a devoted Ribierist?" 
Nostromo said, in an incredulous tone. 

"All diis because I am such a devoted Ribierist," repeated Dr. 
Monygham, grimly. 

Again Nostromo, gazing abstractedly at die body of die late 
Sehor Hirsch, remained silent, thinking diat die doctor was a 
dangerous person in more dian one sense. It was impossible to 
trust him. 

"Do you speak in die name of Don Carlos?" he asked at last. 

"Yes, I do," die doctor said, loudly, widiout hesitation. "He 
must come forward now. He must," he added, in a mutter which 
Nostromo did not catch. 

"What did you say, senor?" 

The doctor started. "I say that you must be true to yourself, 
capataz. It would be worse than folly to fail now." 

"True to myself," repeated Nostromo. "How do you know that 
I would not be true to myself if I told you to go to the devil with 
your propositions?" 

"I do not know. Maybe you would," the doctor said, with a 
roughness of tone intended to hide die sinking of his heart and the 
faltering of his voice. "All I know is that you had better get away 
from here. Some of Sotillo's men may turn up here looking for 
me." He slipped off die table, listening intently. The capataz, too, 
stood up. 

"Suppose I went to Cayta, what would you do meantime?" he 
asked. 

"I would go to Sotillo directly you had left— in the way I am 
thinking of." 

"A very good way— if only that engineer-in-chief consents. 
Remind him, senor, that I looked after die rich old Englishman 
who pays for die railway, and that I saved die lives of some of his 
people that time when a gang of thieves came from the south to 
wreck one of his pay trains. It was I who discovered it all, at die 
risk of my life, by pretending to enter into their plans. Just as you 
are doing with Sotillo." 

"Yes. Yes, of course. But I can offer him better arguments," 
die doctor said, hastily. "Leave it to me." 



"Ah, yes! True. I am nothing." 

"Not at all. You are everything." 

They moved a few paces towards die door. Behind diem die 
late Sefior Hirsch preserved die immobility of a disregarded man. 

"That will be all right I know what to say to die engineer," 
pursued the doctor, in a low tune. "My difficulty will be with 
Sotillo." 

And Dr. Monygham stopped short in die doorway as if 
intimidated by the difficulty. He had made die sacrifice of his life. 
He considered this a fitting opportunity. But he did not want to 
dirow his life away too soon. In his quality of betrayer of Don 
Carlos's confidence, he would have ultimately to indicate die 
hiding place of die treasure. That would be die end of his 
deception and die end of himself as well, at die hands of die 
infuriated colonel. He wanted to delay him to die very last 
moment, and he had been racking his brains to invent some place 
of concealment at once plausible and difficult of access. 

He imparted his trouble to Nostromo, and concluded: 

"Do you know what, capataz? I diink diat when die time 
conies and some information must be given, I shall indicate the 
Great Isabel. That is die best place I can diink of. What is the 
matter?" 

A low exclamation had escaped Nostromo. The doctor waited, 
surprised, and after a moment of profound silence heard a diick 
voice stammer out. "Utter folly," and stop with a gasp. 

"I do not see it." 

"All! You do not see it," began Nostromo, scadiingly, gadiering 
scorn as he went on. "Three men in half an hour would see that 
no ground had been disturbed anywhere on diat island. Do you 
diink diat such a treasure can be buried widiout leaving traces of 
the work— eh, Sefior Doctor? Why, you would not gain half a day 
more before having your diroat cut by Sotillo. The Isabel! What 
stupidity! What miserable invention. Ah! you are all alike, you fine 
men of intelligence. All you are fit for is to betray men of die 
people into undertaking deadly risks for objects that you are not 
even sure about. If it conies off you get die benefit. If not, dien it 
does not matter. He is only a dog. All! Madre de Dios, I would—" 
He shook his fists above his head. 

The doctor was overwhelmed at first by this fierce, hissing 
vehemence. 

"Well, it seems to me on your own showing diat die men of 
die people are no mean fools too," he said, sullenly. "No, but 
come. You are so clever. Have you a better place?" 

Nostromo had calmed down as quickly as he had flared up. 

"I am clever enough for diat," he said, quiedy, almost with 
indifference. "You want to tell him of a hiding place vast enough to 
take days in ransacking— a place where a treasure of silver ingots 



can be buried without leaving a sign on the surface." 

"And close at hand," the doctor put in. 

"Just so, sehor. Tell him it is sunk." 

"This has die merit of being die trudi," die doctor said, 
contemptuously. "He will not believe it." 

"You tell him diat it is sunk where he may hope to lay his 
hands on it, and he will believe you quick enough. Tell him it has 
been sunk in die harbor in order to be recovered afterwards by 
divers. Tell him you found out diat I had orders from Don Carlos 
Gould to lower the cases quiedy overboard somewhere in a line 
between die end of die jetty and die entrance. The depdi is not too 
great diere. He has no divers, but he has a ship, boats, ropes, 
chains, sailors— of a sort. Let him fish for die silver. Let him set his 
fools to dray backward and forward and crosswise while he sits and 
watches till his eyes drop out of his head." 

"Really, this is an admirable idea," muttered die doctor. 

"Si. You tell him that, and see whedier he will not believe you! 
He will spend days in rage and torment— and still he will believe. 
He will have no diought for anything else. He will not give up till 
he is driven off— why, he may even forgot to kill you. He shall 
neidier eat nor sleep. He—" 

"The very tiling! The very tiling!" the doctor repeated in an 
excited whisper. "Capataz, I begin to believe diat you are a great 
genius in your way." Nostromo had paused; dien began again in a 
changed tone, sombre, speaking to himself as though he had 
forgotten die doctor's existence. 

"There is somediing in a treasure that fastens upon a man's 
mind. He will pray and blaspheme and still persevere, and will 
curse die day he ever heard of it, and will let his last hour come 
upon him unawares, still believing that he missed it only by a foot. 
He will see it every time he closes his eyes. He will never forget it 
till he is dead— and even then— Doctor, did you ever hear of die 
miserable gringos on Azuera, that cannot die? Ha! ha! Sailors like 
myself. There is no getting away from a treasure that once fastens 
upon your mind." 

"You are a devil of a man, capataz. It is die most plausible 
tiling." 

Nostromo pressed his arm. 

"It will be worse for him dian thirst at sea or hunger in a town 
full of people. Do you know what that is? He shall suffer greater 
torments dian he inflicted upon diat terrified wretch who had no 
invention. None! none! Not like me. I could have told Sotillo a 
deadly tale for very littie pain." 

He laughed wildly and turned in die doorway towards die body 
of the late Senor Hirsch, an opaque long blotch in the 
semitransparent obscurity of the room between the two tall 
parallelograms of the windows full of stars. 



"You man of fear!" he cried. "You shall he avenged hy me— 
Nostromo. Out of my way, doctor! Stand aside— or, by the 
suffering soul of a woman dead without confession, I will strangle 
you with my two hands." 

He bounded downward into die black, smoky hall. Widi a 
grunt of astonishment Dr. Monygham direw himself recklessly into 
the pursuit. At die bottom of die charred stairs he had a fall, 
pitching forward on his face with a force diat would have stunned a 
spirit less intent upon a task of love and devotion. He was up in a 
moment, jarred, shaken, with a strange impression of die terrestrial 
globe having been flung at his head in die dark. But it wanted 
more than that to stop Dr. Monygham's body, possessed by die 
exaltation of self-sacrifice; a reasonable exaltation, determined not 
to lose whatever advantage chance put into its way. He ran with 
headlong, tottering swiftness, his arms going like a windmill in his 
effort to keep his balance on his crippled feet. He lost his hat; die 
tails of his open gaberdine flew behind him. He had no mind to 
lose sight of die indispensable man. But it was a long time, and a 
long way from die customhouse, before he managed to seize his 
arm from behind, roughly, out of breath. 

"Stop! Are you mad?" 

Already Nostromo was walking slowly, his head drooping, as if 
checked in his pace by die weariness of irresolution. 

"What is that to you? All! I forgot you want me for something. 
Always. Siempre, Nostromo." 

"What do you mean by talking of strangling me?" panted die 
doctor. 

"What do I mean? I mean that die king of die devils himself 
has sent you out of this town of cow r ards and talkers to meet me 
tonight of all die nights of my life." 

Under the starry sky die Albergo d'ltalia Una emerged, black 
and low r , breaking die dark level of die plain. Nostromo stopped 
altogether. 

"The priests say he is a tempter, do they not?" he added, 
through his clinched teeth. 

"My good man, you rave. The devil has nothing to do with 
this. Neither has die town, which you may call by what name you 
please. But Don Carlos Gould is neither a coward nor an empty 
talker. You will admit that?" He waited. "Well?" 

"Could I see Don Carlos?" 

"Great Heavens! No! Why? What for?", exclaimed die doctor 
in agitation. "I tell you it is madness. I will not let you go into the 
town for anything." 

"I must." 

"You must not," hissed die doctor, fiercely, almost beside 
himself with the fear of die man doing away with his usefulness for 
an imbecile whim of some sort. "I tell you you shall not. I would 



rather—" 

He stopped at loss for words, feeling fagged out, powerless, 
holding on to Nostromo's sleeve, ahsolutely for support after his 
run. 

"I am hetrayed," muttered die capataz to himself; and die 
doctor, who overheard the last word, made an effort to speak 
calmly. 

"That is exacdy what would happen to you. You would he 
hetrayed." 

He diought widi a sickening dread diat die man was so well 
known diat he could not escape recognition. The house of die 
Senor Administrador was heset hy spies, no douht. And even the 
very servants of die casa were not to he trusted." "Reflect capataz," 
he said, impressively. . . . "What are you laughing at?" 

"I am laughing to think that if somebody that did not approve 
of my presence in town, for instance— you understand, Senor 
Doctor— if somebody were to give me up to Pedrito, it would not 
be beyond my power to make friends even with him. It is true. 
What do you diink of diat?" 

"You are a man of infinite resource, capataz," said Dr. 
Monygham, dismally. "I recognize diat. But die town is full of talk 
ahout you; and diose few cargadores diat are not in hiding widi die 
railway people have been shouting 'Viva Montero' on die Plaza all 
day." 

"My poor cargadores," muttered Nostromo. "Betrayed! 
Betrayed!" 

I understand diat on die wharf you were pretty free in laying 
about you widi a stick among your poor cargadores," die doctor 
said, in a grim tone, which showed diat he was recovering from his 
exertions. "Make no mistake. Pedrito is furious at Seiior Ribiera's 
rescue and at having lost die pleasure of shooting Decoud. Already 
diere are rumors in die town of die treasure having been spirited 
away. To have missed diat does not please Pedrito eidier; but let 
me tell you diat if you had all diat silver in your hand for your 
ransom it would not save you." 

Turning swiftly, and catching die doctor by die shoulders, 
Nostromo dirust his face close to his. 

"Maladetta! You follow me speaking of the treasure. You have 
sworn my ruin. You were die last man who looked upon me 
before I went out widi it. And Sidoni, die engine driver, says you 
have an evil eye." 

"He ought to know. I saved his broken leg for him last year," 
the doctor said, stoically. He felt on his shoulders die weight of 
diese hands famed among die populace for snapping diick ropes 
and bending horseshoes. "And to you I offer the best means of 
saving yourself— let me go— and of retrieving your great reputation. 
You boasted of making die capataz of cargadores famous from one 



end of America to die other about this wretched silver. But I bring 
you a better opportunity— let me go, hombre!" 

Nostromo released him abruptly, and die doctor feared diat 
the indispensable man would run off again. But he did not. He 
walked on slowly. The doctor hobbled by his side till, within a 
stone's dirow from die Casa Viola, Nostromo stopped again. 

Silent in inhospitable darkness, the Casa Viola seemed to have 
changed its nature; his home appeared to repel him widi an air of 
hopeless and inimical mystery. The doctor said: 

"You will be safe diere. Go in, capataz." 

"How can I go in?" Nostromo seemed to ask himself in a low, 
inward tone. "She cannot unsay what she said, and I cannot undo 
what I have done." 

"I tell you it is all right. Viola is all alone in diere. I looked in 
as I came out of die town. You will be perfecdy safe in diat house 
till you leave it to make your name famous on die Campo. I am 
going now to arrange for your departure with die engineer-in-chief, 
and I shall bring you news here long before daybreak." 

Dr. Monygham, disregarding or perhaps fearing to penetrate 
die meaning of Nostromo' s silence, clapped him lightly on the 
shoulder, and, starting off with his smart lame walk, vanished 
utterly at die third or fourth hop in die direction of die railway 
track. Arrested between the two wooden posts for people to fasten 
their horses to, Nostromo did not move, as if he too had been 
planted solidly in die ground. At die end of half an hour he lifted 
his head to die deep baying of die dogs at die railway yards, which 
had burst out suddenly, tumultuous and deadened as if coming 
from under die plain. That lame doctor with die evil eye had got 
there pretty fast. 

Step by step Nostromo approached die Albergo d'ltalia Una. 
which he had never known so lightless, so silent, before. The door, 
all black in the pale wall, stood open as he had left it twenty-four 
hours before, when he had nothing to hide from die world. He 
remained before it, irresolute, like a fugitive, like a man betrayed. 
Poverty, misery, starvation! Where had he heard these words? 
The anger of a dying woman had prophesied diat fate for his folly. 
It looked as if it would come true very quickly. And the leperos 
would laugh— she had said. Yes, they would laugh if diey knew diat 
die capataz de cargadores was at die mercy of die mad doctor 
whom diey could remember, only a few years ago, buying cooked 
food from a stall on the Plaza for a copper coin— like one of 
diemselves. 

At diat moment die notion of seeking Captain Mitchell passed 
tiirough his mind. He glanced in die direction of die jetty and saw 
a small gleam of light in die O.S.N. Company's building. The 
diought of lighted windows was not attractive. Two lighted windows 
had decoyed him into die empty customhouse, only to fall into die 



clutches of that doctor. No! He would not go near lighted windows 
again on that night. Captain Mitchell was diere. And what could he 
be told? That doctor would worm it all out of him as if he were a 
child. 

On the threshold he called out "Giorgio!" in an undertone. 
Nobody answered. He stepped in. "Ola! viejo! Are you there?" . . . 
In die impenetrable darkness his head swam widi die illusion diat 
die obscurity of die kitchen was as vast as die Placid Gulf, and diat 
die floor dipped forward like a sinking lighter. "Ola! viejo!" he 
repeated falteringly, swaying where he stood. His hand, extended 
to steady himself, fell upon die table. Moving a step forward, he 
shifted it, and felt a box of matches under his fingers. He fancied 
he had heard a quiet sigh. He listened for a moment, holding his 
breath; dien, with trembling hands, tried to strike a light. 

The tiny piece of wood flamed up quite blindingly at die end 
of his fingers, raised above his blinking eyes. A concentrated glare 
fell upon the leonine white bead of old Giorgio against die black 
fireplace— showed him leaning forward in a chair in staring 
immobility, surrounded, overhung, by great masses of shadow, his 
legs crossed, his cheek in his hand, an empty pipe in die corner of 
his mouth. It seemed hours before he attempted to turn his face; 
at the very moment die match went out, and he disappeared, 
overwhelmed by the shadows, as if die walls and roof of die 
desolate house had collapsed upon his white head in ghosdy 
silence. 

Nostromo heard him stir and utter dispassionately die words: 
"It may have been a vision." 

"No," he said, softly. "It is no vision, old man." A strong chest 
voice asked very loud in die dark: "Is that you I hear, Giovann' 
Battista?" 

"Si, viejo. Steady. Not so loud." 

After his release by Sotillo, Giorgio Viola, attended to die very 
door by die good natured engineer-in-chief, had reentered his 
house, which he had been made to leave almost at die very 
moment of his wife's deadi. All was still. The lamp above was 
burning. He nearly called out to her by name; and die diought diat 
no call from him would ever again evoke die answer of her voice 
made him drop heavily into the chair widi a loud groan, wrung out 
by die pain, as of a keen blade piercing his breast. 

The rest of the night he made no sound. The darkness turned 
to gray, and on the colorless, clear, glassy dawn die jagged sierra 
stood out flat and opaque, as if cut out of paper. 

The endiusiastic and severe soul of Giorgio Viola, sailor, 
champion of oppressed humanity, enemy of kings, and, by the 
grace of Mrs. Gould, hotelkeeper of die Sulaco harbor, had 
descended into die open abyss of desolation among die shattered 
vestiges of his past. He remembered his wooing between two 



campaigns, a single short week in die season of gathering olives. 
Nothing approached the grave passion of that time hut the deep, 
passionate sense of his bereavement. He discovered all the extent 
of his dependence upon the silenced voice of that woman. It was 
her voice that he missed. Abstracted, busy, lost in inward 
contemplation, he seldom looked at his wife in those later years. 
The thought of his girls was a matter of concern, not of 
consolation. It was her voice that he would miss. And he 
remembered the other child— the little boy who died at sea. All! a 
man would have been something to lean upon. And, alas! even 
Gian' Battista— he of whom and of Linda his wife had spoken to 
him so anxiously before she dropped off into her last sleep on 
earth, he on whom she had called aloud to save the children just 
before she died— even he was dead! 

And die old man, bent forward, his head in his hand, sat 
through the day in immobility and solitude. He never heard the 
brazen roar of the bells in town. When it ceased, the earthenware 
filter in the comer of the kitchen kept on its swift musical drip, 
drip into the vast, porous jar below. 

Towards sunset he got up, and with slow movements 
disappeared up the narrow staircase. His bulk filled it; and the 
rubbing of his shoulders made a small noise as of a mouse running 
behind the plaster of a wall. While he remained up there the 
house was as dumb as a grave. Then, with the same faint rubbing 
noise, he descended. He had to catch at the chairs and tables to 
regain his seat. He seized his pipe off the high mantel of the 
fireplace— but made no attempt to reach the tobacco— thrust it 
empty into the corner of his mouth, and sat down again in the 
same staring pose. The sun of Pedrito's entry into Sulaco, the last 
sun of Senor Hirsch's life, the first of Decoud's solitude on the 
Great Isabel, passed over the Albergo d'ltalia Una on its way to die 
west. The tinkling drip, drip of die filter had ceased, the lamp 
upstairs had burned itself out, and the night beset Giorgio Viola 
and his dead wife with its obscurity and silence diat seemed 
invincible till die capataz de cargadores, returning from the dead, 
put diem to flight with die sputter and flare of a match. 

"Si, viejo. It is me. Wait." 

Nostromo, after barricading die door and closing die shutters 
carefully, groped upon a shelf for a candle, and lit it. 

Old Viola had risen. He followed with his eyes in die dark die 
sounds made by Nostromo. The light disclosed him standing 
widiout support, as if die mere presence of diat man who was 
loyal, brave, incorruptible, who was all his son would have been, 
were enough for die support of his decaying strengtii. 

He extended his hand, grasping the briarwood pipe, whose 
bowl was charred on the edge, and knitted his bushy eyebrows 
heavily at die light. 



"You have returned," he said, widi shaky dignity. "All! Very 
well.'I-" 

He hroke off. Nostromo, leaning hack against the table, his 
arms folded on his breast, nodded at him slighdy. 

"You thought I was drowned! No! The best dog of die rich, of 
the aristocrats, of diese line men who can only talk and betray die 
people, is not dead yet." The Garibaldino, motionless, seemed to 
drink in the sound of the well known voice. His head moved 
slighdy once as if in sign of approval; but Nostromo saw clearly 
that die old man understood nodiing of die words. There was no 
one to understand; no one he could take into die confidence of 
Decoud's fate, of his own, into die secret of die silver. That doctor 
was an enemy of die people— a tempter. . . . 

Old Giorgio's heavy frame shook from head to foot with die 
effort to overcome his emotion at die sight of diat man, who had 
shared die intimacies of his domestic life as diough he had been a 
grownup son. 

"She believed you would return," he said, solemnly. 

Nostromo raised his head. 

"She was a wise woman. How could I fail to come back—?" 

He finished the diought mentally: "Since she has prophesied 
for me an end of poverty, misery, and starvation." These words of 
Teresa's anger, from die circumstances in which diey had been 
uttered, like die cry of a soul prevented from making its peace with 
God, stirred die obscure superstition of personal fortune from 
which even die greatest genius among men of adventure and action 
is seldom free. They reigned over Nostromo's mind with die force 
of a potent malediction. And what a curse it was, diat which her 
words had laid upon him! He had been orphaned so young diat he 
could remember no odier woman whom he called modier. 
Henceforth diere would be no enterprise in which he would not 
fail. The spell was working already. Deadi itself would elude him 
now . . . He said, violendy: 

"Come, viejo! Get me somediing to eat. I am hungry! Sangre 
de Dios! The emptiness of my belly makes me lighdieaded." 

Widi his chin dropped again upon his bare breast above his 
folded arms, barefooted, watching from under a gloomy brow die 
movements of old Viola foraging among die cupboards, he 
seemed as if indeed fallen under a curse— a ruined and sinister 
capataz. 

Old Viola walked out of a dark comer, and, widiout a word, 
emptied upon die table out of his hollowed palms a few dry crusts 
of bread and half a raw onion. 

While the capataz began to devour this beggar's fare, taking up 
widi stony-eyed voracity piece after piece lying by his side, die 
Garibaldino went off, and squatting down in another corner, filled 
an eardienware mug with red wine out of a wicker covered 



demijohn. With a familiar gesture, as when serving customers in 
the cafe, he had thrust his pipe between his teeth to have his hands 
free. 

The capataz drank greedily. A slight flush deepened die 
bronze of his cheek. Before him, Viola, widr a turn of his white 
and massive head towards die staircase, took his empty pipe out of 
his mouth and pronounced slowly: 

"Alter die shot was fired down here, which killed her as surely 
as if die bullet had struck her oppressed heart, she called upon you 
to save die children. Upon you, Gian' Battista." 

The capataz looked up. 

"Did she do diat, padrone? To save the children! They are 
with die English seiiora, dieir rich benefactress. Hey? old man of 
die people. Thy benefactress ..." 

"I am old," muttered Giorgio Viola. "An Englishwoman was 
allowed to give a bed to Garibaldi lying wounded in prison. The 
greatest man diat ever lived. A man of die people, too— a sailor. I 
may let anodier keep a roof over my head. Si ... I am old. I may let 
her. Life lasts too long sometimes." 

"And she herself may not have a roof over her head before 
many days are out unless I . . . What do you say? Am I to keep a 
roof over her head? Am I to try— and save all die Blancos together 
with her?" 

"You shall do it," said old Viola, in a strong voice. "You shall 
do it as my son would have ..." 

"Thy son, viejo! . . . There never has been a man like thy son. 
Ha, I must try. . . . But what if it were only a part of die curse to 
lure me on . . . And so she called upon me to save— and then— ?" 

"She spoke no more," The heroic follower of Garibaldi, at die 
thought of the eternal stillness and silence fallen upon the 
shrouded form stretched out on die bed upstairs, averted his face 
and raised his hand to his furrowed brow. "She was dead before I 
could seize her hands," he stammered out pitifully. 

Before die wide eyes of the capataz, staring at die doorway of 
die dark staircase, floated die shape of die Great Isabel, like a 
strange ship in distress, freighted with enormous wealth and the 
solitary life of a man. It was impossible for him to do anything. He 
could only hold his tongue, since there was no one to trust. The 
treasure would be lost, probably— unless Decoud . . . And his 
thought came abruptly to an end. He perceived that he could not 
imagine in die least what Decoud was likely to do. 

Old Viola had not stirred. And die motionless capataz 
dropped his long, soft eyelashes, which gave to die upper part of 
his fierce, black-whiskered face a touch of feminine ingenuousness. 
The silence had lasted for a long time. 

"God rest her soul," he murmured gloomily. 



X 



THE next day was quiet in the morning, except for the faint sound 
of firing to die northward, in die direction of Los Hatos. Captain 
Mitchell had listened to it from his balcony anxiously. The phrase, 
"In my delicate position as die only consular agent then in the 
port, everything, sir, everything was a just cause for anxiety," had its 
place in die more or less stereotyped relation of die "historical 
events" which for die next few years was at die sendee of 
distinguished strangers visiting Sulaco. The mention of die dignity 
and neutrality of die flag, so difficult to preserve in his position, 
"right in die diick of diese events between die lawlessness of diat 
piratical villain Sotillo and the more regularly established but 
scarcely less atrocious tyranny of his Excellency Don Pedro 
Montero," came next in order. Captain Mitchell was not the man 
to enlarge upon mere dangers much. But he insisted diat it was a 
memorable day. On diat day, towards dusk, he had seen "diat 
poor fellow of mine— Nostromo. The sailor whom I discovered, 
and, I may say, made, sir. The man of die famous ride to Cayta, 
sir. An historical event, sir!" 

Regarded by the O.S.N. Company as an old and faidiful 
servant. Captain Mitchell was allowed to attain die term of his 
usefulness in ease and dignity at die head of die enormously 
extended service. The augmentation of the establishment, with its 
crowds of clerks, an office in town, die old office in die harbor, the 
division into departments— passenger, cargo, lighterage, and so on- 
secured a greater leisure for his last years in die regenerated 
Sulaco, die capital of die Occidental Republic. Liked by die 
natives for his good nature and die formality of his manner, self- 
important and simple, known for years as a "friend of our 
country," he felt himself a personality of mark in die town. Getting 
up early for a turn in die marketplace while die gigantic shadow of 
Higuerota was still lying upon die fruit and flower stalls piled up 
with masses of gorgeous coloring, attending easily to current affairs, 
welcomed in houses, greeted by ladies on die Alameda, with his 
entry into all die clubs and a footing in die Casa Gould, he led his 
privileged old bachelor, man-about-town existence with great 
comfort and solemnity. But on mail boat days he was down at die 
harbor office at an early hour, with his own gig, manned by a smart 
crew in white and blue, ready to dash off and board die ship 
directly she showed her bows between the harbor heads. 

And it would be into die harbor office diat he would lead some 
privileged passenger he had brought off in his own boat, and invite 
him to take a seat for a moment while he signed a few papers. And 
Captain Mitchell, seating himself at his desk, would keep on 
talking hospitably: 



"There isn't much time if you are to see everything in a day. 
We shall he off in a moment. We'll have lunch at the Amarilla 
Cluh, though I helong also to the Anglo American— mining 
engineers and business men, don't you know— and to the 
Mirliflores as well, a new club— English, French, Italians, all sorts- 
lively young fellows mostly, who wanted to pay a compliment to an 
old resident, sir. But we'll lunch at the Amarilla. Interest you, I 
fancy. Real tiling of the country. Men of the first families. The 
President of the Occidental Republic himself belongs to it, sir. 
Fine old bishop with a broken nose in the patio. Remarkable piece 
of statuary, I believe. Cavaliere Parrochetti— you know Parrochetti, 
the famous Italian sculptor— was working here for two years- 
thought very highly of our old bishop . . . There! I am very much 
at your service now." 

Inflexible, proud of his experience, penetrated by the sense of 
historical importance of men, events, and buildings, he talked 
pompously in jerky periods, with slight indicating sweeps of his 
short, thick arm, letting nothing "escape the attention" of his 
privileged captive. 

"Lots of building going on, as you observe. Before the 
Separation it was a plain of burned grass smothered in clouds of 
dust, with an oxcart track to our jetty. Nothing more. This is the 
harbor gate. Picturesque, is it not? Formerly the town stopped 
short there. We enter now the Calle de la Constitution. Observe 
the old Spanish houses. Great dignity. Eh? I suppose it's just as it 
was in the time of the viceroys, except for tire pavement. Wood 
blocks now. Sulaco National Bank there, with the sentry boxes 
each side of the gate. Casa Avellanos this side, with all tire ground 
floor windows shuttered. A wonderful woman lives there— Miss 
Avellanos— the beautiful Antonia. A character, sir! A historical 
woman! Opposite— Casa Gould. Noble gateway. Yes, the Goulds 
of the original Gould Concession, that all tire world knows of now. 
I hold seventeen of the thousand-dollar shares in tire Consolidated 
San Tome mines. All the poor savings of my lifetime, sir, and it 
will be enough to keep me in comfort to tire end of my days at 
home when I retire. I got in on tire ground-floor, you see. Don 
Carlos, great friend of mine. Seventeen shares— quite a little 
fortune to leave behind one, too. I have a niece— married a 
parson— most worthy man, incumbent of a small parish in Sussex; 
no end of children. I was never married myself. A sailor should 
exercise self denial. Standing under that very gateway, sir, with 
some young engineer fellows, ready to defend that house where we 
had received so much kindness and hospitality, I saw tire first and 
last charge of Pedrito's Llaneros upon Barrios's troops, who had 
just taken tire harbor gate. They could not stand the new rifles 
brought out by that poor Decoud. It was a murderous fire. In a 
moment the street became blocked with a mass of dead men and 



horses. They never came on again." 

And all day Captain Mitchell would talk like this to his more or 
less willing victim: 

"The Plaza. I call it magnificent. Twice tire area of Trafalgar 
Square." 

From die very centre, in die hlazing sunshine, he pointed out 
die buildings. 

"The Intendencia, now President's Palace— Cabildo, where die 
Lower Chamber of Parliament sits. You notice die new houses on 
tiiat side of die Plaza? Compania Anzani, a great general store, like 
tiiose cooperative tilings at home. Old Anzani was murdered by 
die National Guards in front of his sale. It was even for that 
specific crime that the deputy Gamacho, commanding die 
Nationals, a blooddiirsty and savage brute, was executed publicly 
by garrote upon die sentence of a court martial ordered by 
Barrios. Anzani' s nephews converted die business into a company. 
All that side of die Plaza had been burned; used to be colonnaded 
before. A terrible fire, by die light of which I saw the last of the 
fighting, the Llaneros flying, the Nationals throwing dieir arms 
down, and the miners of San Tome, all Indians from die Sierra, 
rolling by like a torrent to the sound of pipes and cymbals, green 
flags flying, a wild mass of men in white ponchos and green hats, 
on foot, on mules, on donkeys. The miners, sir, had marched 
upon die town, Don Pepe leading on his black horse, and dieir 
very wives in the rear on burros, screaming encouragement, sir, 
and beating tambourines. I remember one of these women had a 
green parrot seated on her shoulder, as calm as a bird of stone. 
Such a sight, sir, will never be seen again. They had just saved their 
Sehor Administrador; for Barrios, though he ordered die assault at 
once, at night too, would have been too late. Pedrito Montero had 
Don Carlos led out to be shot— like his uncle many years ago— and 
then, as Barrios said afterwards, 'Sulaco would not have been 
wordi fighting for.' Sulaco without the Concession was nothing; 
and diere were tons and tons of dynamite distributed all over die 
mountain with detonators arranged, and an old priest, Fadier 
Roman, standing by to annihilate die San Tome mine at the first 
news of failure. Don Carlos had made up his mind not to leave it 
behind, and he had die right men to see to it, too." 

Thus Captain Mitchell would talk in die middle of die Plaza, 
holding over his head a white umbrella with a green lining; but 
inside the cadiedral, in die dim light, with a faint scent of incense 
floating in the cool atmosphere and here and diere a kneeling 
female figure, black or all white, with a veiled head, his lowered 
voice became solemn and impressive. 

"Here," he would say, pointing to a niche in the wall of the 
dusky aisle, "you see die bust of Don Jose Avellanos, 'Patriot and 
Statesman,' as die inscription says, 'Minister to Courts of England 



and Spain, etc., etc., died in die woods of Los Hatos, worn out 
widi his lifelong struggle for Right and Justice, at the dawn of the 
New Era.' A fair likeness. Parrochetti's work from some old 
photographs and a pencil sketch by Mrs. Gould. I was well 
acquainted with that distinguished Spanish American of die old 
school, a true Hidalgo, beloved by everybody who knew him. The 
marble medallion in the wall, in the antique style, representing a 
veiled woman seated with her hands clasped loosely over her 
knees, commemorates that unfortunate young gentleman who 
sailed out with Nostromo on that fatal night, sir. See, 'To the 
memory of Martin Decoud, his betrothed Antonia Avellanos.' 
Frank, simple, noble. There you have that lady, sir, as she is. An 
exceptional woman. Those who thought she would give way to 
despair were mistaken, sir. She has been blamed in many quarters 
for not having taken tire veil. It was expected of her. But Dona 
Antonia is not the stuff they make nuns of. Bishop Corbelan, her 
uncle, lives with her in the Corbelan townhouse. He is a fierce sort 
of priest, everlastingly worrying the government about the old 
church lands and convents. I believe they think a lot of him in 
Rome. Now let us go to the Amarilla Club, just across the Plaza, to 
get some lunch." 

Directly outside, the cathedral, on the very top of the noble 
flight of steps, his voice rose pompously, his arm found again its 
sweeping gesture. 

"Porvenir, over there on that first floor, above those French 
plate glass shop fronts; our biggest daily. Conservative, or, rather, I 
should say, Parliamentary. We have the Parliamentary party here 
of which the actual Chief of the State, Don Juste Lopez, is the 
head; a very sagacious man, I think. A first rate intellect, sir. The 
Democratic party in opposition rests mostly, I am sorry to say, on 
these socialistic Italians, sir, with their secret societies, camorras, 
and such like. There are lots of Italians setded here on die railway 
lands, dismissed navvies, mechanics, and so on, all along die trunk 
line. There are whole villages of Italians on die Campo. And the 
natives, too, are being drawn into these ways . . . American bar? 
Yes. And over there you can see another. New Yorkers mostly 
frequent diat one— Here we are at die Amarilla. Observe die 
bishop at die foot of the stairs to die right as we go in." 

And die lunch would begin and terminate its lavish and 
leisurely course at a little table in die gallery. Captain Mitchell 
nodding, bowing, getting up to speak for a moment to different 
officials in black clodies, merchants in jackets, officers in uniform, 
middle aged caballeros from die Campo— sallow, little, nervous 
men, and fat, placid, swardiy men, and Europeans or Nordi 
Americans of superior standing, whose faces looked very white 
among die majority of dark complexions and black, glistening eyes. 

Captain Mitchell would lay back in the chair, casting around 



looks of satisfaction, and tender over the table a case full of thick 
cigars. 

"Try a weed with your coffee. Local tobacco, The black coffee 
you get at the Amarilla, sir, you don't meet anywhere in the world. 
We get the bean from a famous cafeteria in the foothills, whose 
owner sends three sacks every year as a present to his fellow 
members, in remembrance of the fight against Gamacho's 
Nationals, carried on from this very window by the caballeros. He 
was in town at tire time, and took part, sir, to the bitter end. It 
arrives on three nrules— not in the common way, by rail; no fear!— 
right into the patio, escorted by mounted peons in charge of the 
mayoral of his estate, who walks upstairs, booted and spurred, and 
delivers it to our conrnrittee formally with the words, 'For the sake 
of those fallen on tire 3d of May.' We call it Tres de Mayo coffee. 
Taste it." 

Captain Mitchell, with air expression as though making ready 
to hear a sermon in a church, would lift the tiny cup to his lips. 
And tire nectar would be sipped to tire bottom during a restful 
silence in a cloud of cigar snroke. 

"Look at this man in black just going out," he would begin, 
leaning forward hastily. "This is the famous Hernandez, Minister 
of War. The Times' special correspondent, who wrote that striking 
series of letters calling tire Occidental Republic tire 'Treasure 
House of tire World,' gave a whole article to him and tire force he 
has organized— tire renowned Carabineers of tire Canrpo." 

Captain Mitchell's guest, staling curiously, would see a figure in 
a long tailed black coat walking gravely, with downcast eyelids in a 
long, conrposed face, a brow furrowed horizontally, a pointed 
head, whose gray hair, thin at tire top, combed down carefully on 
all sides and rolled at tire ends, fell low on tire neck and shoulders. 
This, then, was tire famous bandit of whom Europe had heard 
with interest. He put on a high-crowned sombrero with a vast flat 
brinr; a rosary of wooden beads was twisted about his right wrist. 
And Captain Mitchell would proceed: 

"The protector of tire Sulaco refugees from tire rage of 
Pedrito. As general of cavalry with Barrios he distinguished himself 
at tire stornring of Tonoro, where Senor Fuentes was killed with 
the last remnant of the Monterists. He is the friend and humble 
servant of Bishop Corbelan. Hears three nrasses every day. I bet 
you he will step into tire cathedral to say a prayer or two on his way 
home to his siesta." 

He took several puffs at his cigar in silence; then, in his best 
important manner pronounced: 

"The Spanish race, sir, is prolific of remarkable characters in 
every rank of life. ... I propose we go now into tire billiard roonr, 
which is cool, for a quiet chat There's never anybody there till alter 
five. I could tell you episodes of tire Separationist revolution that 



would astonish you. When die great heat's over we'll take a turn 
on the Alameda." 

The programme went on relendess, like a law of nature. The 
turn on die Alameda was taken widi slow steps and stately 
remarks. 

"All die great world of Sulaco here, sir," Captain Mitchell 
bowed right and left widi no end of formality; dien widi animation, 
"Dona Emilia, Mrs. Gould's carriage. Look. Always white mules. 
The kindest, most gracious woman die sun ever shone upon. A 
great position, sir— a great position. First lady in Sulaco— far before 
die President's wife. And worthy of it." He took off his hat; dien, 
widi a studied change of tone, added, negligendy, diat die man in 
black by her side, widi a high white collar and a scarred, snarly 
face, was Dr. Monygham, inspector of state hospitals, chief 
medical officer of die Consolidated San Tome mines. "A familiar 
of die house. Everlastingly diere. No wonder. The Goulds made 
him. Very clever man and all diat, but I never liked him. Nobody 
does. I can recollect him limping about die streets in a check shirt 
and native sandals widi a watermelon under his arm— all he would 
get to eat for the day. A bigwig now, sir, and as nasty as ever. 
However. . . . There's no doubt he has played his part fairly well at 
die time. He saved us all from die deadly incubus of Sotillo, where 
a more particular man might have failed—" 

His arm went up. 

"The equestrian statue diat used to stand on die pedestal over 
diere has been removed. It was an anachronism," Captain Mitchell 
commented obscurely. 'There is some talk of replacing it by a 
marble shaft commemorative of Separation, widi angels of peace at 
the four corners, and a bronze Justice holding an even balance, all 
gilt, on die top. Cavaliere Parrochetti was asked to make a design, 
which you can see framed under glass in the municipal sala. 
Names are to be engraved all round die base. Well, diey could do 
no better dian begin widi die name of Nostromo. He has done for 
Separation as much as anybody else, and," added Captain 
Mitchell, "has got less than many odiers by it— when it conies to 
that." He dropped onto a stone seat under a tree, and tapped 
invitingly at die place by his side. "He carried to Barrios die letters 
from Sulaco which decided die general to evacuate Cayta for a 
time, and come to our help here by sea. The transports were still 
in harbor, fortunately. Sir, I did not even know that my capataz de 
cargadores was alive. I had no idea. It was Dr. Monygham who 
came upon him, by chance, in the custom house, evacuated an 
hour or two before by die wretched Sotillo. I was never told; never 
given a hint, nodiing— as if I were umvordiy of confidence. 
Monygham arranged it all. He went to the railway yards and got 
admission to die engineer-in-chief, who, for the sake of die Goulds 
as much as for anydiing else, consented to let an engine make a 



dash down die line, one hundred and eighty miles, widi Nostromo 
ahoard. It was die only way to get him away. In die construction 
camp at die railhead he obtained a horse, arms, some clodiing, 
and started alone on diat marvelous ride— four hundred miles in 
six days, through a disturbed country, ending hy die feat of passing 
through die Monterist lines outside Cayta. The history of diat ride, 
sir, would make a most exciting hook. He carried all our lives in 
his pocket. Devotion, courage, fidelity, intelligence were not 
enough. Of course, he was perfecdy fearless and incorruptible. But 
a man was wanted diat would know how to succeed. He was diat 
man, sir. On die 5di of May, heing practically a prisoner in the 
harbor office of my company, I suddenly heard die whistie of an 
engine in die railway yards, a quarter of a mile away. I could not 
believe my ears. I made one jump onto die halcony, and heheld a 
locomotive under a great head of steam run out of the yard gates, 
screeching like mad, enveloped in a white cloud, and dien, just 
ahreast of old Viola's inn, check almost to a standstill. I made out, 
sir, a man— I couldn't tell who— dash out of die Alhergo d'ltalia 
Una, climb into the cab, and dien, sir, diat engine seemed 
positively to leap clear of die house, and was gone in die twinkling 
of an eye, as you blow a candle out, sir! There was a first rate 
driver on die footplate, sir, I can tell you. They were fired heavily 
upon hy die National Guards in Rincon and one odier place. 
Fortunately die line had not heen torn up. In four hours diey 
reached die construction camp. Nostromo had his start. . . . The 
rest you know. You've got only to look round you. There are 
people on this Alameda diat ride in dieir carriages, or even are 
alive at all today, hecause years ago I engaged a runaway Italian 
sailor for a foreman of our wharf simply on the strengdi of his 
looks. And diat's a fact. You can't get over it, sir. On die 17di of 
May, just twelve days after I saw die man from the Casa Viola get 
on die engine and wondered what it meant, Barrios's transports 
were entering diis harhor, and die 'Treasure House of die World,' 
as the Times man calls Sulaco in his hook, was saved intact for 
civilization— for a great future, sir. Pedrito, with Hernandez on die 
west and die San Tome miners pressing on die land gate, was not 
ahle to oppose die landing. He had heen sending messages to 
Sotillo for a week to join him. Had Sotillo done so diere would 
have been massacres and proscription diat would have left no man 
or woman of position alive. But diat's where Dr. Monygham 
conies in. Sotillo, blind and deaf to everything, stuck on board his 
steamer watching die dragging for silver, which he believed to be 
sunk at the bottom of die harbor. They say diat for die last diree 
days he was out of his mind, raving and foaming with 
disappointment at getting nodiing, flying about die deck and yelling 
curses at die boats with die drags, ordering diem in, and dien 
suddenly stamping his foot and crying out, 'And yet it is diere! I 



see it! I feel it!' 

"He was preparing to hang Dr Monygham (whom he had on 
hoard) at die end of die after derrick, when the first of Barrios's 
transports, one of our own ships at diat, steamed right in, and, 
ranging close alongside, opened a small arm fire without as much 
preliminaries as a hail. It was die completest surprise in die world, 
sir. They were too astounded at first to bolt below. Men were 
falling right and left like ninepins. It's a miracle diat Monygham, 
standing on the after hatch with die rope already round his neck, 
escaped being riddled dirough and dirough like a sieve. He told 
me since diat he had given himself up for lost, and kept on yelling 
with all die strengdi of his lungs: 'Hoist a white flag! Hoist a white 
flag!' Suddenly an old major of die Esmeralda regiment, standing 
by, unsheadied his sword with a shriek: 'Die, perjured traitor!' and 
ran Sotillo clean dirough die body, just before he fell himself shot 
dirough die head." 

Captain Mitchell stopped for a while. 

"Begad, sir! I could spin you a yarn for hours. But it's time we 
started off to Rincon. It would not do for you to pass through 
Sulaco and not see die lights of die San Tome mine, a whole 
mountain ablaze like a lighted palace above die dark Campo. It's a 
fashionable drive. . . . But let me tell you one little anecdote, sir; 
just to show you. A fortnight or more later, when Barrios, declared 
generalissimo, was gone in pursuit of Pedrito away soudi, when the 
Provisional Junta, with Don Juste Lopez at its head, had 
promulgated die new Constitution, and our Don Carlos Gould was 
packing up his trunks bound on a mission to San Francisco and 
Washington (the United States, sir, were die first great power to 
recognize die Occidental Republic)— a fortnight later, I say, when 
we were beginning to feel that our heads were still on our 
shoulders, if I may express myself so, a prominent man, a 
foreigner, a large shipper by our line, came to see me on business, 
and, says he, die first tiling: 'I say, Captain Mitchell, is that fellow 
(meaning Nostromo) still the capataz of your cargadores, or not?' 
'What's die matter?' says I. 'Because, if he is, then I don't mind; I 
send and receive a good lot of cargo by your ships; but I have 
observed him several days loafing about die wharf, and just now he 
stopped me as cool as you please, with a request for a cigar. Now, 
you know, my cigars are rather special, and I can't get them so 
easily as all that.' 'I hope you stretched a point,' I said, very gently. 
'Why, yes; but it's a confounded nuisance. The fellow's 
everlastingly cadging for smokes.' Sir, I turned my eyes away, and 
then asked, 'Weren't you one of die prisoners in the cabildo?' 
'You know very well I was, and in chains, too,' says he. 'And under 
a fine of fifteen thousand dollars?' He colored, sir, because it got 
about that he fainted from fright when they came to arrest him, 
and then behaved before Fuentes in a manner to make die very 



policianos, who had dragged him there by die hair of his head, 
smile at his cringing. 'Yes,' lie says, in a sort of shy way. 'Why?' 
'Oh, nothing. You stood to lose a tidy bit,' says I, even if you saved 
your life. . . . But what can I do for you?' He never even saw the 
point. Not he. And that's how the world wags, sir." 

He rose a little stiffly, and the drive to Rincon would be taken 
with only one philosophical remark, uttered by the merciless 
cicerone, with his eyes fixed upon the lights of San Tome, that 
seemed suspended in tire dark night between earth and heaven. 

"A great power, this, for good and evil, sir. A great power." 

And tire dinner of the Mirliflores would be eaten, excellent as 
to cooking, and leaving upon the traveler's mind an impression 
that there were in Sulaco many pleasant, able young men with 
salaries apparently too large for their discretion, and among them a 
few, mostly Anglo Saxon, skilled in tire art of, as tire saying is, 
"taking a rise" out of his kind host. 

With a rapid, jingling drive to the harbor in a two wheeled 
machine (which Captain Mitchell called a curricle) behind a fleet 
and scraggy mule beaten all tire time by an obviously Neapolitan 
driver, tire cycle would be nearly closed before the lighted-up 
offices of the O.S.N. Company, remaining open so late because of 
the steamer. Nearly— but not quite. 

"Ten o'clock. Your ship won't be ready to leave till half-past 
twelve, if by then. Come in for a brandy and soda and one more 
cigar." 

And in the superintendent's private room the privileged 
passenger by the Ceres or Juno or Pallas, stunned and as it were 
annihilated mentally by a sudden surfeit of sights, sounds, names, 
facts, and complicated information imperfectly apprehended, 
would listen like a tired child to a fairy tale; would hear a voice, 
familiar and surprising in its pompousness, tell him, as if from 
another world, how there was "in this very harbor" an international 
naval demonstration which put an end to the Costaguana-Sulaco 
War. How the United States cruiser Powhatan was the first to 
salute the Occidental flag— white, with a wreath of green laurel in 
the middle encircling a yellow amarilla flower. Would hear how 
General Montero, in less than a month after proclaiming himself 
Emperor of Costaguana, was shot dead (during a solemn and 
public distribution of orders and crosses) by a young artillery 
officer, the brother of his then mistress. 

"The abominable Pedrito, sir, fled the country," the voice 
would say. And it would continue: "A captain of one of our ships 
told me lately that he recognized Pedrito the guerrillero, arrayed in 
purple slippers and a velvet smoking cap with a gold tassel, 
keeping a disorderly house in one of the southern ports." 

"Abominable Pedrito! Who the devil was he?" would wonder 
the distinguished bird of passage, hovering on the confines of 



waking and sleep with resolutely open eyes and a faint but amiable 
curl upon his lips, from between which stuck out die eighteenth or 
twentieth cigar of diat memorable day. 

"He appeared to me in this very room like a haunting ghost, 
sir"— Captain Mitchell was talking of his Nostromo with true 
warmth of feeling and a touch of wistful pride. "You may imagine, 
sir, what an effect it produced on me. He had come round by sea 
with Barrios, of course. And the first thing he told me after I 
became fit to hear him was that he had picked up the lighter's boat 
floating in the gulf! He seemed quite overcome by that 
circumstance. And a remarkable enough circumstance it was. 
when you remember that it was then sixteen days since the sinking 
of the silver. At once I could see he was another man. He stared at 
the wall, sir, as if there had been a spider or something running 
about there. The loss of the silver preyed on his mind. The first 
tiling he asked me about was whether Dona Antonia had heard yet 
of Decoud's death. His voice trembled. I had to tell him that Dona 
Antonia, as a matter of fact, was not then back in town yet. Poor 
girl! And just as I was making ready to ask him a thousand 
questions, with a sudden, 'Pardon me, seiior,' he cleared out of the 
office altogether. I did not see him again for three days. I was 
terribly busy, you know. It seems that he wandered about in and 
out of the town, and on two nights turned up to sleep in the 
barracoons of the railway people. He seemed absolutely 
indifferent to what went on. I asked him on the wharf, 'When are 
you going to take hold again, Nostromo? There will be plenty of 
work for the cargadores presently.' 

"'Seiior,' says he, looking at me in a slow, inquisitive manner, 
'would it surprise you to hear that I am too tired to work just yet? 
And what work could I do now? How can I look my cargadores in 
the face after losing a lighter?' 

"I begged him not to think any more about the silver, and he 
smiled. A smile that went to my heart, sir. 'It was no mistake,' I 
told him. 'It was a fatality. A tiling that could not be helped.' 'Si, 
si!' he said, and turned away. I thought it best to leave him alone 
for a bit to get over it. Sir, it took him years, really, to get over it. I 
was present at his interview with Don Carlos. I must say that 
Gould is rather a cold man. He had learned to keep a tight hand 
on his feelings, dealing with thieves and rascals, in constant danger 
of ruin for himself and wife for so many years, that it had become 
a second nature. They looked at each other for a long time. Don 
Carlos asked what he could do for him, in his quiet, reserved way. 

'"My name is known from one end of Sulaco to the other,' he 
said, as quiet as the other. 'What more can you do for me?' That 
was all that passed on that occasion. Later on, however, there was a 
very fine coasting schooner for sale, and Mrs. Gould and I put our 
heads together to get her bought and presented to him It was 



done, but he paid all die price back witiiin die next diree years. 
Business was booming all along diis seaboard, sir. Moreover diat 
man always succeeded in everything except in saving die silver. 
Poor Doha Antonia, fresh from her terrible experiences in the 
woods of Los Matos, had an interview widi him, too. Wanted to 
hear about Decoud: what diey said, what they did, what diey 
diought up to die last on diat fatal night. Mrs. Gould told me his 
manner was perfect for quietness and sympathy. Miss Avellanos 
burst into tears only when he told her how Decoud had happened 
to say diat his plan would be a glorious success. . . . And diere's no 
doubt, sir, that it is. It is a success." 

The cycle was about to close at last. And while die privileged 
passenger, shivering widi die pleasant anticipations of his berth, 
forgot to ask himself, "What on eardi Decoud's plan could be?" 
Captain Mitchell was saying, "Sorry we must part so soon. Your 
intelligent interest made diis a pleasant day to me. I shall see you 
now on board. You had a glimpse of die 'Treasure House of die 
World.' A very good name diat." And die cockswain's voice at die 
door, announcing diat die gig was ready, closed die cycle. 

Nostromo had, indeed, found die lighter's boat, which he had 
left on die Great Isabel widi Decoud, iloating empty far out in die 
gulf. He was dien on die bridge of die first of Barrios's transports, 
and within an hour's steaming from Sulaco. Barrios, always 
delighted widi a feat of daring and a good judge of courage, had 
taken a great liking to die capataz. During all die passage round die 
coast die general kept Nostromo near his person, addressing him 
frequendy in diat abrupt and boisterous manner which was die sign 
of his high favor. 

Nostromo's eyes were die first to catch, wide on die bow, the 
tiny, elusive dark speck which, alone widi die forms of die diree 
Isabels right ahead, appeared on die flat, shimmering emptiness of 
the gulf. There are times when no fact should be neglected as 
insignificant; a small boat so far from die land might have had 
some meaning wordi finding out. At a nod of consent from 
Barrios die transport swept out of her course, passing near enough 
to ascertain diat no one manned die littie cockleshell. It was 
merely a common small boat gone adrift widi her oars in her. But 
Nostromo, to whose mind Decoud had been insistendy present for 
days, had long before recognized widi excitement die dinghy of die 
lighter. 

There could be no question of stopping to pick up diat tiling. 
Every minute of time was momentous widi the lives and future of a 
whole town. The head of the leading ship, with the general on 
board, fell off to her course. Behind her, die fleet of transports, 
scattered haphazard over a mile or so in die offing, like die finish 
of an ocean race, pressed on, all black and smoking on die western 
sky. 



"Mi general," Nostromo's voice rang out, loud but quiet, from 
behind a group of officers, "I should like to save that litde boat. 
Por Dios, I know her. She belongs to my company." 

"And, por Dios," guffawed Barrios, in a noisy, good humored 
voice, "you belong to me. I am going to make a captain of cavalry 
out of you direcdy we get widiin sight of a horse again." 

"I can swim far letter than I can ride, mi general," cried 
Nostromo, pushing dirough to the rail widi a set stare in his eyes. 
"Let me—" 

"Let you? What a conceited fellow diat is," bantered die 
general, jovially, widiout even looking at him. "Let him go! Ha! ha! 
ha! He wants me to admit diat we cannot take Sulaco widiout him! 
Ha! ha! ha! Would you like to swim off to her, my son?" 

A tremendous shout from one end of die ship to die odier 
stopped his guffaw. Nostromo had leaped overboard; and his 
black head bobbed up faraway already from the ship. The general 
muttered an appalled "Cielo! Sinner diat I am!" in a diunderstruck 
tone. One anxious glance was enough to show him diat Nostromo 
was swimming with perfect ease; and then he diundered terribly, 
"No! no! We shall not stop to pick up this impertinent fellow. Let 
him drown— that mad capataz!" 

Nothing short of main force would have kept Nostromo from 
leaping overboard. That empty boat, coming out to meet him 
mysteriously, as if rowed by an invisible spectre, exercised die 
fascination of some sign, of some warning, seemed to answer in a 
startling and enigmatic way die persistent thought of a treasure and 
of a man's fate. He would have leaped if there had been death in 
that half mile of water. It was as smooth as a pond, and for some 
reason sharks are unknown in die Placid Gulf, though on die other 
side of die Punta Mala die coastline swarms with them. 

The capataz seized hold of die stern and blew with force. A 
queer, faint feeling had come over him while he swam. He had to 
get rid of his boots and coat in die water. He hung on for a time, 
regaining his breath. In die distance die transports, more in a 
bunch now, held on straight for Sulaco with their air of friendly 
contest, of nautical sport, of a regatta; and the united smoke of 
their funnels drove like a thin, sulphurous fogbank right over his 
head. It was his daring, his courage, his act that had set these ships 
in motion upon the sea, hurrying on to save die lives and fortunes 
of die Blancos, die taskmasters of die people; to save die San 
Tome mine; to save die children. 

With a vigorous and skilful effort he clambered over die stern. 
The very boat! No doubt of it; no doubt whatever. It w r as the 
dinghy of die lighter No. 3— die dinghy left with Martin Decoud on 
the Great Isabel so that he should have some means to help 
himself if nothing could be done for him from the shore. And 
here she had come out to meet him, empty and inexplicable. 



What had hecome of Decoud? The capataz made a minute 
examination. He looked for some scratch, for some mark, for 
some sign. All he discovered was a brown stain on the gunwale 
abreast of the thwart. He bent his face over it and rubbed hard 
with his finger. Then he sat down in the stern sheets, passive, with 
his knees close together and legs aslant. 

Streaming from head to foot, with his hair and whiskers 
hanging lank and dripping, and a lustreless stare fixed upon the 
bottom boards, the capataz of the Sulaco cargadores resembled a 
drowned corpse come up from the bottom to idle away the sunset 
hour in a small boat. The excitement of his adventurous ride, the 
excitement of the return in time, of achievement, of success, all 
this excitement centred round the associated ideas of tire great 
treasure and of the only other nran who knew of its existence, had 
departed fronr him. To the very last moment he had been 
cudgeling his brains as to how he could manage to visit the Great 
Isabel without loss of time and undetected. For the idea of secrecy 
had conre to be connected with the treasure so closely that even to 
Barrios himself he had refrained fronr mentioning tire existence of 
Decoud and of the silver on tire island. The letters he carried to 
tire general, however, nrade brief mention of tire loss of tire lighter, 
as having its bearing upon tire situation in Sulaco. In tire 
circumstances, tire one-eyed tiger slayer, scenting battle fronr afar, 
had not wasted his time in making inquiries fronr tire messenger. 
In fact, Barrios, talking with Nostronro, assunred that both Don 
Martin Decoud and tire ingots of San Tome were lost together, 
and Nostronro, not questioned directly, had kept silent, under tire 
influence of sonre indefinable form of resentment and distrust. Let 
Don Martin speak of everything with his own lips— was what he 
told himself mentally And now, with tire means of gaining tire 
Great Isabel thrown thus in his way at tire earliest possible 
nronrent, his excitement had departed, as when tire soul takes 
flight, leaving tire body inert upon an earth it knows no nrore. 
Nostronro did not seem to know the gulf. For a long time even his 
eyelids did not flutter once upon tire glazed emptiness of his stare. 
Then, slowly, without a linrb having stirred, without a twitch of 
nruscle or quiver of an eyelash, an expression, a living expression, 
came upon the still features, deep thought crept into tire empty 
stare— as if an outcast soul, a quiet, brooding soul, finding that 
untenanted body in its way, had conre in stealthily to take 
possession. 

The capataz frowned; and in tire immense stillness of sea, 
islands, and coast, of cloud forms on tire sky and trails of light 
upon tire water, tire knitting of that brow had tire emphasis of a 
powerful gesture. Nothing else budged for a long time, then the 
capataz shook his head and again surrendered himself to tire 
universal repose of all visible things. Suddenly he seized tire oars, 



and with one movement made die dinghy spin round, head on to 
the Great Isabel. But before he began to pull he bent once more 
over die brown stain on the gunwale. 

"I know diat diing," he muttered to himself, with a sagacious 
jerk of die head. "That's blood." 

His stroke was long, vigorous, and steady. Now and dien he 
looked over his shoulder at die Great Isabel, presenting its low cliff 
to his anxious gaze like an impenetrable face. At last die stem 
touched die strand. He flung radier dian dragged the boat up the 
littie beach. At once, turning his back upon die sunset, he plunged 
with long strides into die ravine, making die water of die stream 
spurt and fly upward at every step, as if spurning its shallow, clear, 
murmuring spirit, with his feet. He wanted to save every moment 
of daylight. 

A mass of eardi, grass, and smashed bushes had fallen down 
very naturally from above upon die cavity under die leaning tree. 
Decoud had attended to die concealment of die silver as 
instructed, using die spade with some intelligence. But Nostromo's 
half smile of approval changed into a scornful curl of die lip by die 
sight of die spade itself flung diere in full view, as if in utter 
carelessness or sudden panic, giving away die whole tiling. Ah! 
They were all alike in their folly, these homines jinos that invented 
laws and governments and barren tasks for die people. 

The capataz picked up die spade, and with the feel of the 
handle in his palm die desire of having a look at the horsehide 
boxes of treasure came upon him suddenly. In a very few strokes 
he uncovered the edges and comers of several; dien, clearing away 
more eardi, became aware diat one of diem had been slashed with 
a knife. 

He exclaimed at diat discovery in a stifled voice, and dropped 
on his knees with a look of irrational apprehension over one 
shoulder, dien over die odier. The stiff hide had closed, and he 
hesitated before he pushed his hand dirough the long slit and felt 
die ingots inside. There diey were. One, two, diree. Yes, four 
gone. Taken away. Four ingots. But who? Decoud? Nobody else. 
And why? For what purpose? For what cursed fancy? Let him 
explain. Four ingots carried off in a boat, and— blood! 

In the face of the open gulf, the sun, clear, unclouded, 
unaltered, plunged into die waters in a grave and untroubled 
mystery of self-immolation consummated far from all mortal eyes, 
with an infinite majesty of silence and peace. Four ingots short!— 
and blood! 

The capataz got up slowly. 

"He might simply have cut his hand," he muttered. "But, 
dien—" 

He sat down on die soft earth, unresisting, as if he had been 
chained to die treasure, his drawn-up legs clasped in his hands with 



an air of hopeless submission, like a slave set on guard. Once only 
he lifted his head smartly; the ratde of hot musketry fire had 
reached his ears, like pouring from on high a stream of dry peas 
upon a drum. After listening for a while, he said, half aloud: 

"He will never come back to explain." 

And he lowered his head again. 

"Impossible!" he muttered, gloomily. 

The sounds of firing died out. The loom of a great 
conflagration in Sulaco flashed up red above die coast, played on 
die clouds at die head of die gulf, seemed to touch with a ruddy 
and sinister reflection die forms of die tiiree Isabels. He never saw 
it, diough he raised his head. 

"But, dien, I cannot know," he pronounced distinctly, and 
remained silent and staring for hours. 

He could not know. Nobody was to know. As might have been 
supposed, die end of Don Martin Decoud never became a subject 
of speculation for any one except Nostromo. Had die trudi of die 
facts been known, diere would always have remained die question, 
Why? Whereas die version of his deadi at die sinking of the 
lighter had no uncertainty of motive. The young apostle of 
Separation had died striving for his idea by an everdamented 
accident But die trudi was diat he died from solitude, die enemy 
known but to few on this eardi, and whom only die simplest of us 
are fit to widistand. The brilliant Costaguanero of die boulevards 
had died from solitude and want of faith in himself and odiers. 

For some good and valid reasons beyond mere human 
comprehension, die seabirds of die gulf shun the Isabels. The 
rocky head of Azuera is dieir haunt, whose stony levels and 
chasms resound widi their wild and tumultuous clamor, as if diey 
were forever quarrelling over die legendary treasure. 

At die end of his first day on die Great Isabel, Decoud, turning 
in his lair of coarse grass, under die shade of a tree, said to himself: 

"I have not seen as much as one single bird all day." And he 
had not heard a sound, eidier, all day, but diat one now of his own 
muttering voice. It had been a day of absolute silence— die first he 
had known in his life. And he had not slept a wink. Not for all 
diese wakeful nights and die days of lighting, planning, talking; not 
for all diat last night of danger and hard physical toil upon die gulf, 
had he been able to close his eyes for a moment. And yet from 
sunrise to sunset he had been lying prone on die ground, eidier on 
his back or on his face. 

He stretched himself, and with slow steps descended into die 
gully to spend die night by die side of die silver. If Nostromo 
returned— as he may have done at any moment— it was diere diat 
he would look first; and night would, of course, be die proper time 
for an attempt to communicate. He remembered with profound 
indifference diat he had not eaten anything yet since he had been 



left alone on the island. 

He spent the night open-eyed, and when the day hroke he ate 
something with die same indifference. The brilliant "Son 
Decoud," die spoiled darling of die family, die lover of Antonia 
and journalist of Sulaco, was not fit to grapple widi himself 
singlehanded. Solitude from mere outward condition of existence 
becomes very swiftly a state of soul in which die affectations of 
irony and scepticism have no place. It takes possession of die 
mind, and drives fordi die thought into die exile of utter unbelief. 
After diree days of waiting for die sight of some human face, 
Decoud caught himself entertaining a doubt of his own 
individuality. It had merged into die world of cloud and water, of 
natural forces and forms of nature. In our activity alone do we find 
die sustaining illusion of an independent existence as against die 
whole scheme of tilings of which we form a helpless part. Decoud 
lost all belief in die reality of his action past and to come. On die 
fifth day an immense melancholy descended upon him palpably. 
He resolved not to give himself up hopelessly to diose people in 
Sulaco, who had beset him, unreal and terrible, like gibbering and 
obscene spectres. He saw himself struggling feebly in dieir midst, 
and Antonia, gigantic and lovely like an allegorical statue, looking 
on widi scornful eyes at his weakness. 

Not a living being, not a speck of distant sail, appeared within 
die range of his vision; and, as if to escape from diis solitude, he 
absorbed himself in his melancholy. The vague consciousness of a 
misdirected life given up to impulses, whose memory left a bitter 
taste in his mouth, was die first moral sentiment of his manhood. 
But at die same time he felt no remorse. What should he regret? 
He had recognized no odier virtue dian intelligence, and had 
erected passions into duties. Bodi his intelligence and his passion 
were swallowed up easily in diis great unbroken solitude of waiting 
widiout faith. Sleeplessness had robbed his will of all energy, for he 
had not slept seven hours in die seven days. His sadness was die 
sadness of a skeptical mind. He beheld die universe as a 
succession of incomprehensible images. Nostromo was dead. 
Eveiydiing had failed ignominiously. He no longer dared to diink 
of Antonia. She had not survived. But if she survived he could not 
face her. And all exertion seemed senseless. 

On die tendi day, after a night spent widiout even dozing off 
once (it had occurred to him that Antonia could not possibly have 
ever loved a being so impalpable as himself), die solitude appeared 
like a great void, and die silence of die gulf like a tense, thin cord 
to which he hung suspended by both hands, widiout fear, widiout 
surprise, widiout any sort of emotion whatever. Only towards the 
evening, in die comparative relief of coolness, he began to wish 
diat diis cord would snap. He imagined it snapping widi a report as 
of a pistol— a sharp, full crack. And diat would be die end of him. 



He contemplated that eventuality with pleasure, because he 
dreaded the sleepless nights in which the silence, remaining 
unbroken in die shape of a cord to which he hung widi bodi 
bands, vibrated widi senseless phrases, always the same but utterly 
incomprehensible, about Nostromo, Antonia, Barrios, and 
proclamations mingled into an ironical and senseless buzzing. In 
die daytime he could look at die silence like a still cord stretched 
to breaking point, with his life, his vain life, suspended to it like a 
weight. 

"I wonder whether I would hear it snap before I fell," he asked 
himself. 

The sun was two hours above die horizon when he got up, 
gaunt, dirty, white -faced, and looked at it with his red-rimmed 
eyes. His limbs obeyed him yet slowly, as if full of lead, but without 
tremor; and die effect of that physical condition gave to his 
movements an unhesitating, deliberate dignity. He acted as if 
accomplishing some sort of rite. He descended into the gully; for 
the fascination of all that silver, with its potential power, survived 
alone outside of himself. He picked up the belt with die revolver, 
that was lying there, and buckled it round his waist. The cord of 
silence could never snap on die island. It must let him fall and sink 
into the sea, he thought. And sink! He was looking at die loose 
earth covering die treasure. In the sea! His aspect was that of a 
somnambulist. He lowered himself down on his knees slowly and 
went on grubbing widi his fingers with industrious patience till he 
uncovered one of die boxes. Without a pause, as if doing some 
work done many times before, he slit it open and took four ingots 
which he put in his pockets. He covered up die exposed box again 
and step by step came out of die gully. The bushes closed after 
him widi a swish. 

It was on the diird day of his solitude diat he had dragged die 
dinghy near die water widi an idea of rowing away somewhere, but 
had desisted pardy at die whisper of lingering hope diat Nostromo 
would return, pardy from conviction of utter uselessness of ill 
effort. Now she wanted only a slight shove to be set afloat. He had 
eaten a little every day after the first, and had some muscular 
strengdi left yet. Taking up the oars slowly, he pulled away from 
die cliff of die Great Isabel, that stood behind him warm widi 
sunshine, as if widi die heat of life, badied in a rich light from head 
to foot as if in a radiance of hope and joy. He pulled straight 
towards die setting sun. When die gulf had grown dark, he ceased 
rowing and flung die sculls in. The hollow r clatter diey made in 
falling was die loudest noise he had ever heard in his life. It was a 
revelation. It seemed to recall him from far away. Actually the 
diought, "Perhaps I may sleep tonight," passed dirough his mind. 
But he did not believe it. He believed in nodiing; and he remained 
sitting on die diwart. 



The dawn from behind die mountains put a gleam into his 
unwinking eyes. After a clear daybreak die sun appeared 
splendidly above die peaks of die range. The great gulf burst into a 
glitter all around die boat; and in diis glory of merciless solitude 
die silence appeared before him, stretched taut like a dark, diin 
string. 

His eyes looked at it while, without haste, he shifted his seat 
from die diwart to die gunwale. They looked at it fixedly, while his 
hand, feeling about his waist, unbuttoned die flap of die leadier 
case, drew die revolver cocked it, brought it forward pointing at his 
breast, pulled die trigger, and, with convulsive force, sent the still 
smoking weapon hurling dirough die air. His eyes looked at it 
while he fell forward and hung with his breast on die gunwale and 
die fingers of his right hand hooked under die diwart. They 
looked— 

"It is done," he stammered out, in a sudden flow of blood. His 
last diought was: "I wonder how diat capataz died." The stiffness of 
die fingers relaxed, and die lover of Antonia Avellanos rolled 
overboard widiout having heard die cord of silence snap aloud in 
die solitude of the Placid Gulf, whose glittering surface remained 
untroubled by die fall of his body. 

A victim of die disillusioned weariness which is die retribution 
meted out to intellectual audacity, die brilliant Don Martin 
Decoud, weighted by the bars of San Tome silver, disappeared 
widiout a trace, swallowed up in die immense indifference of 
tilings. His sleepless, crouching figure was gone from die side of 
die San Tome silver; and for a time die spirits of good and evil that 
hover near every concealed treasure of die eardi might have 
diought diat diis one had been forgotten by all mankind. Then, 
after a few days, anodier form appeared striding away from the 
setting sun to sit motionless and awake in the narrow black gully all 
dirough die night, in nearly die same pose, in die same place in 
which had sat diat odier sleepless man who had gone away forever 
so quietiy in a small boat, about die time of sunset. And die spirits 
of good and evil diat hover about a forbidden treasure understood 
well diat die silver of San Tome was provided now with a faithful 
and lifelong slave. 

The magnificent capataz de cargadores, victim of die 
disenchanted vanity which is die reward of audacious action, sat in 
the weary pose of a hunted outcast dirough a night of sleeplessness 
as tormenting as any known to Decoud, his companion in the 
most desperate affair of his life. And he wondered how Decoud 
had died. But he knew die part he had played himself. First a 
woman, dien a man, abandoned each in their last extremity, for 
the sake of diis accursed treasure. It was paid for by a soul lost and 
by a vanished life. The blank stillness of awe was succeeded by a 
gust of immense pride. There was no one in die world but Gian' 



Battista Fidanza, captain de cargadores, die incorruptible and 
faithful Nostromo, to pay such a price. 

He had made up his mind that nothing should be allowed now 
to rob him of his bargain. Nothing. Decoud had died. But how? 
That he was dead he had not a shadow of a doubt. But four 
ingots? . . . What for? Did he mean to come for more— some 
odier time? 

The treasure was putting forth its latent power. It troubled the 
clear mind of the man who had paid the price. He was sure that 
Decoud was dead. The island seemed full of that whisper. Dead! 
Gone! And he caught himself listening for the swish of trashes and 
the splash of the footfalls in the bed of the brook. Dead! The 
talker, the novio of Dona Antonia! 

"Ha!" he murmured, with his head on his knees, under the 
livid clouded dawn breaking over the liberated Sulaco and upon 
die gulf as gray as ashes. "It is to her that he will fly. To her that he 
will fly!" 

And four ingots! Did he take them in revenge, to cast a spell, 
like die angry woman who had prophesied remorse and failure, 
and yet had laid upon him die task of saving die children? Well, 
he had saved die children. He had defeated the spell of poverty 
and starvation. He had done it all alone— or perhaps helped by die 
devil. Who cared? He had done it, betrayed as he was, saving by 
die same stroke die San Tome mine, which appeared to him 
hateful and immense, lording it by its vast wealdi over die valor, 
die toil, die fidelity of the poor, over war and peace, over the 
labors of the town, die sea, and die Campo. 

The sun lit up die sky behind die peaks of die Cordillera. The 
capataz looked down for a, time upon the fall of loose eardi, 
stones, and smashed bushes concealing die hiding place of die 
silver. 

"I must grow rich very slowly," he meditated aloud. 



XI 



SULACO outstripped Nostromo's prudence, growing rich swiftly 
on die hidden treasures of die eardi, hovered over by die anxious 
spirits of good and evil, torn out by the laboring hands of die 
people. It was like a second youdi, like a new life, full of promise, 
or unrest, of toil, scattering lavishly its wealdi to die four corners of 
an excited world. Material changes swept along in die train of 
material interests. And odier changes more subtie, outwardly 
unmarked, affected die minds and hearts of die workers. Captain 
Mitchell had gone home to live on his savings invested in die San 
Tome mine; and Dr Monygham had grown older, with his head 
steel gray and die unchanged expression of his face, living on die 



inexhaustible treasure of his devotion drawn upon in the secret of 
his heart like a store of unlawful wealth. 

The Inspector General of State Hospitals (w r hose maintenance 
is a charge upon the Gould Concession), Official Adviser on 
Sanitation to the Municipality, Chief Medical Officer of the San 
Tome Consolidated Mines (whose territory, containing gold, silver, 
copper lead, cobalt, extends for miles along the foothills of the 
Cordillera), had felt poverty stricken, miserable, and starved during 
the prolonged visit the Goulds paid to Europe and the United 
States of America. Intimate of the casa, proved friend, a bachelor 
without ties and without establishment (except of the professional 
sort), he had been asked to take up his quarters in the Gould 
house. In the eighteen months of their absence these familiar 
rooms, recalling at every glance the woman to whom he had given 
all his loyalty, had grown intolerable. As the day approached for 
the arrival of the mail boat Hermes (the latest addition to the 
O.S.N. Company's splendid fleet), the doctor hobbled about more 
vivaciously, snapped more sardonically at simple and gentle, out of 
sheer nervousness. 

He packed up his modest trunk with speed, with fury, with 
enthusiasm, and saw it carried out past the old porter at the gate of 
the Casa Gould with delight, with intoxication; then, as the hour 
approached, sitting alone in the great landau behind the white 
mules, a little sideways, his drawn-up face positively venomous with 
the effort of self-control, and holding a pair of new gloves in his left 
hand, he drove to the harbor. 

His heart dilated within him so when he saw the Goulds on the 
deck of the Hermes that his greetings were reduced to a casual 
mutter. Driving back to town, all three were silent. And in the 
patio the doctor, in a more natural manner, said: 

"I'll leave you now to yourselves. I'll call tomorrow, if I may?" 

"Come to lunch, dear Dr. Monygham, and come early," said 
Mrs. Gould, in her traveling dress and her veil down, turning to 
look at him at the foot of the stairs; while at the top of the flight the 
Madonna, in blue robes, and the Child on her arm, seemed to 
welcome her with an aspect of pitying tenderness. 

"Don't expect to find me at home," Charles Gould warned 
him. "I'll he off early, to the mine." 

After lunch, Dona Emilia and the Senor Doctor came slowly 
through the inner gateway of the patio. The large gardens of die 
Casa Gould, surrounded by high walls, and the red tile slopes of 
neighboring roofs, lay open before them, with masses of shade 
under the trees and level surfaces of sunlight upon the lawns. A 
triple row of old orange trees surrounded the whole. Barefooted, 
brown gardeners, in snowy white shirts and wide calzoneras, dotted 
the grounds, squatting over flowerbeds, passing between the trees, 
dragging slender india rubber tubes across the gravel of the paths; 



and die fine jets of water crossed each other in graceful curves, 
sparkling in die sunshine widi a slight pattering noise upon the 
bushes and an effect of showered diamonds upon the grass. 

Doha Emilia, holding up die train of a clear dress, walked by 
die side of Dr. Monygham, in a longish black coat and severe 
black bow on an immaculate shirtfront. Under a shady clump of 
trees, where stood scattered litde tables and wicker easy chairs, 
Mrs. Gould sat down in a low and ample seat. 

"Don't go yet," she said to Dr. Monygham, who was unable to 
tear himself away from die spot. His chin nesding widiin die points 
of his collar, he devoured her stealdiily widi his eyes, which, 
luckily, were round and hard like clouded marbles, and incapable 
of disclosing his sentiments. His pitying emotions at die marks of 
time upon die face of that woman, die air of frailty and weary 
fatigue diat had settied upon die eyes and temples of die "never 
tired sehora" (as Don Pepe years ago used to call her widi 
admiration), touched him almost to tears. "Don't go yet. Today is 
all my own," Mrs. Gould urged gently. "We are not back yet 
officially: No one will come. It's only tomorrow diat die windows 
of the Casa Gould are to be lit up for a reception." 

The doctor dropped into a chair. 

"Giving a tertulia?" he said, widi a detached air. 

"A simple greeting for all die kind friends who care to come." 

"And only tomorrow?" 

"Yes. Charles would be tired out after a day at die mine, and 
so I— It would be good to have him to myself for one evening on 
our return to diis house I love. It has seen all my life." 

"All, yes!" snarled die doctor, suddenly. "Women count time 
from die marriage feast. Didn't you live a litde before?" 

"Yes; but what is diere to remember? There were no cares." ; 

Mrs. Gould sighed. And as two friends, after a long separation, 
will revert to die most agitated period of dieir lives, diey began to 
talk of die Sulaco revolution. It seemed strange to Mrs. Gould diat 
people who had taken part in it seemed to forget its memory and 
its lesson. 

"And yet," struck in the doctor, "we who played our part in it 
had our reward. Don Pepe, diough superannuated, still can sit a 
horse. Barrios is drinking himself to deadi in jovial company away 
somewhere on his fundacion beyond die Bolson de Tonoro. And 
the heroic Fatiier Roman— I imagine the old Padre blowing up 
systematically die San Tome mine, uttering a pious exclamation at 
every bang and taking up handfuls of snuff between the 
explosions— die heroic Padre Roman says diat he is not afraid of 
die harm Holroyd's missionaries can do to his flock, as long as he 
is alive." 

Mrs. Gould shuddered a litde at die allusion to die destruction 
diat bad come so near to die San Tome mine. 



"Ah, but you, old friend?" 

"I did die work I was lit for." 

"You faced the most cruel dangers of all. Something more 
dian death." 

"No, Mrs. Gould! Only death— by hanging. And I am rewarded 
beyond my deserts." 

Noticing Mrs. Gould's gaze fixed upon him, he dropped his 
eyes. 

"I've made my career— as you see," said the Inspector General 
of State Hospitals, taking up lightly the lapels of his superfine black 
coat. The doctor's self-respect, marked inwardly by the almost 
complete disappearance from his dreams of Father Beron, 
appeared visibly in what, by contrast with former carelessness, 
seemed an immoderate cult of personal appearance. Carried out 
within severe limits of form and color, and in perpetual freshness, 
this change of apparel gave to Dr, Monygham an air at the same 
time professional and festive; while his gait and the unchanged 
crabbed character of his face acquired from it a startling force of 
incongruity. 

"Yes," he went on. "We all had our rewards— the engineer-in- 
chief, Captain Mitchell—" 

"We saw him," interrupted Mrs. Gould, in her charming voice. 
"The poor old man came up from the country on purpose to call 
upon us in our hotel in London. He comported himself with great 
dignity, but I fancy he regrets Sulaco. He rambled feebly about 
'historical events' till I felt I could have a cry." 

"H'm," grunted the doctor; "getting old, I suppose. Even 
Nostromo is getting older— though he is not changed. And, 
speaking of that fellow, I wanted to tell you something— " 

For some time the house had been full of murmurs, of 
agitation. Suddenly the two gardeners, busy with rose trees at the 
side of die garden arch, fell upon tiieir knees with bowed heads on 
the passage of Antonia Avellanos, who appeared walking beside 
her uncle. 

Invested with die red hat after a short visit to Rome, where he 
had been invited by die Propaganda, Father Corbelan, missionary 
to die wild Indians, conspirator, friend and patron of Hernandez 
die robber, advanced with big, slow strides, gaunt, and leaning 
forward, with his powerful hands knotted behind his back. The 
first Cardinal Archbishop of Sulaco had preserved his fanatical and 
morose air— die aspect of a chaplain of bandits. It was believed that 
his unexpected elevation to die purple was a counter move to die 
Protestant invasion of Sulaco organized by die Holroyd Missionary 
Fund. Antonia, die beauty of her face as if a little blurred, her 
figure slighdy fuller, advanced with her light walk and her high 
serenity, smiling from a distance at Mrs. Gould. She had brought 
her uncle over to see dear Emilia, widiout ceremony, just for a 



moment before the siesta. 

When all were seated again, Dr, Monygham, who had come to 
dislike heartily everybody who approached Mrs. Gould with any 
intimacy, kept aside pretending to be lost in profound meditation. 
A louder phrase of Antonia made him lift his head. 

"How can we abandon, groaning under oppression, those who 
have been our countrymen only a few years ago, who are our 
countrymen now?" Miss Avellanos was saying. "How can we 
remain blind, and deaf, and without pity to the cruel wrongs 
suffered by our brothers? There is a remedy." 

"Annex the rest of Costaguana to the order and prosperity of 
Sulaco," snapped the doctor. "There is no other remedy." 

"I am convinced, Senor Doctor," Antonia said, with the 
earnest calm of invincible resolution, "that this was from the first 
poor Martin's intention." 

"Yes, but the material interests will not let you jeopardize their 
development for a mere idea of pity and justice," the doctor 
muttered grumpily. "And it is just as well, perhaps." 

The Cardinal Archbishop straightened up his gaunt, bony 
frame. 

"We have worked for them; we have made them; these 
material interests of the foreigners," the last of the Corbelans 
uttered in a deep, denunciatory tone. 

"And without them you are nothing," cried the doctor from the 
distance. "They will not let you." 

"Let them beware, then, lest the people, prevented from their 
aspirations, should rise and claim their share of the wealth and 
their share of the power," the popular Cardinal Archbishop of 
Sulaco declared significantly, menacingly. 

A silence ensued, during which his eminence stared frowning 
at the ground, and Antonia, graceful and rigid in her chair, 
breathed calmly in the strength of her convictions. Then the 
conversation took a social turn, touching on the visit of the Goulds 
to Europe. The Cardinal Archbishop, when in Rome, had 
suffered from neuralgia in the head all the time. It was the 
climate— the bad air. 

When uncle and niece had gone away, with the servants again 
falling on their knees, and the old porter, who had known Henry 
Gould, almost totally blind and impotent now, creeping up to kiss 
his Eminence's extended hand, Dr. Monygham, looking after 
them, I pronounced the one word: 

"Incorrigible!" 

Mrs. Gould, with a look upward, dropped wearily on her lap 
her white hands flashing with the gold and stones of many rings. 

"Conspiring. Yes!" said the doctor. "The last of the Avellanos 
and the last of the Corbelans. are conspiring with the refugees 
from Sta. Marta that flock here after every revolution. The Cafe 



Lambroso at die corner of the Plaza is full of them; you can hear 
their chatter across the street like the noise of a parrot house. They 
are conspiring for the invasion of Costaguana. And do you know 
where diey go for strength, for the necessary force? To die secret 
societies among immigrants and natives, where Nostromo— I 
should say Captain Fidanza— is die great man. What gives him diat 
position? Who, can say? Genius? He has genius. He is greater 
widi die populace dian ever he was before. It was as if he had 
some secret power; some mysterious means to keep up his 
influence. He holds conferences widi die Archbishop, as in diese 
old days which you and I remember. Barrios is useless. But for a 
military head diey have the pious Hernandez. And diey may raise 
die country widi die new cry of die wealdi for die people." 

"Will there be never any peace? Will diere be no rest?" Mrs. 
Gould whispered. "I diought diat we—" 

"No!" interrupted die doctor. "There is no peace and rest in 
die development of material interests. They have tiieir law and 
dieir justice. But it is founded on expediency, and is inhuman; it is 
without rectitude, without the continuity and die force diat can be 
found only in a moral principle. Mrs. Gould, die time approaches 
when all diat the Gould Concession stands for shall weigh as 
heavily upon die people as die barbarism, cruelty, and misrule of a 
few years back. 

"How can you say diat, Dr. Monygham?" she cried out, as if 
hurt in die most sensitive place of her soul. 

"I can say what is true," die doctor insisted obstinately. "It'll 
weigh as heavily and provoke resentment, bloodshed, and 
vengeance, because the men have grown different. Do you diink 
that now die mine would march upon die town to save dieir Senor 
Administrador? Do you diink diat?" 

She pressed die backs of her entwined hands on her eyes and 
murmured hopelessly: 

"Is it diat we have worked for, then?" 

The doctor lowered his head. He could follow her silent 
diought. Was it for diat diat her life had been robbed of all die 
intimate felicities of daily affection which her tenderness needed as 
die human body needs air to breadie? And die doctor, indignant 
widi Charles Gould's blindness, hastened to change die 
conversation. 

"It is about Nostromo diat I wanted to talk to you. Ah, that 
fellow has some continuity and force. Nodiing will put an end to 
him. But never mind diat. There's somediing inexplicable going 
on— or perhaps only too easy to explain. You know, Linda is 
practically die lighdiouse keeper of die Great Isabel light. The 
Garibaldino is too old now. His part is to clean die lamps and to 
cook in die house; but he can't get up the stairs any longer. The 
black-eyed Linda sleeps all day and watches die light all night. Not 



all day, though. She is up towards five in die afternoon, when our 
Nostromo, whenever he is in die harhor widi his schooner, conies 
out on his courting visit, pulling in a small boat." 

"Aren't diey married yet?" Mrs. Gould asked. "The modier 
wished it, as far as I can understand, while Linda was yet quite a 
child. When I had the girls widi me for a year or so during die war 
of separation, that extraordinary Linda used to declare quite 
simply diat she was going to be Gian' Battista's wife." 

"They are not married yet," said the doctor, curtly. "I have 
looked alter diem a litde." 

"Thank you, dear Dr. Monygham," said Mrs. Gould; and 
under die shade of die big trees her little, even teedi gleamed in a 
youdiful smile of gende malice. "People don't know how really 
good you are. You will not let diem know, as if on purpose to 
annoy me, who have put my faith in your good heart long ago" 

The doctor, widi a lifting up of his upper lip, as diough he 
were longing to bite, bowed stiffly in his chair. Widi die utter 
absorption of a man to whom love conies late, not as a most 
splendid of illusions, but like an enlightening and priceless 
misfortune, die sight of diat woman (of whom he had been 
deprived for about eighteen mondis) suggested ideas of adoration, 
of kissing die hem of her robe. And this excess of feeling 
translated itself naturally by an augmented grimness of speech. 

"I am afraid of being overwhelmed by too much gratitude. 
However, diese people interest me. I went out several times to die 
Great Isabel light to look after old Giorgio." 

He did not tell Mrs. Gould diat it was because he found diere, 
in her absence, the relief of an atmosphere of congenial sentiment 
in old Giorgio's austere admiration of die Lnglish signora— the 
benefactress; in black-eyed Linda's voluble, torrential, passionate 
affection for "our Dona Emilia— diat angel"; in die white -diroated, 
fair Giselle's adoring upward turn of die eyes, which dien glided 
towards him widi a sidelong, half-arch, half-candid glance, which 
made die doctor exclaim to himself, mentally, "If I weren't what I 
am, old and ugly, I would diink die sly minx is making eyes at me. 
And perhaps she is. I dare say she would make eyes at anybody." 
Dr. Monygham said nodiing of diis to Mrs. Gould, die providence 
of die Viola family, but reverted to what he called "our great 
Nostromo." 

"What I wanted to tell you is this: Our great Nostromo did not 
seem to take much notice of die old man and die children for 
some years. It's true, too, diat he was away on his coasting voyages 
certainly ten mondis out of die twelve. He was making his fortune, 
as he told Captain Mitchell once. He seems to have done 
uncommonly well. It was only to be expected. He is a man full of 
resource, full of confidence in himself, ready to take chances and 
risks of every sort. I remember being in Mitchell's office one day, 



when he came in with that calm, grave air he always carries 
everywhere. He had heen away trading in the Gulf of California, 
he said, looking straight past us at die wall, as his manner is, and 
was glad to see on his return diat a lighdiouse was heing built on 
die cliff of die Great Isabel. Very glad, he repeated. Mitchell 
explained diat it was die O.S.N. Company who was building it for 
die convenience of die mail service, on his own advice. Captain 
Fidanza was good enough to say that it was excellent advice. I 
remember him twisting up his mustaches and looking all round die 
cornice of die room before he proposed diat old Giorgio should 
be made die keeper of that light." 

"I heard of this. I was consulted at die time," Mrs. Gould said. 
"I doubted whether it would be good for diese girls to be shut up 
on diat island as if in a prison." 

"The proposal fell in with die old Garibaldino's humor. As to 
Linda, any place was lovely and delightful enough for her as long 
as it was Nostromo's suggestion. She could wait for her Gian' 
Battista's good pleasure there as well as anywhere else. My opinion 
is that she was always in love with diat grave and incorruptible 
capataz. Moreover, bodi father and sister were anxious to get 
Giselle away from die attentions of a certain Ramirez." 

"All!" said Mrs. Gould, interested. "Ramirez? What sort of 
man is diat?" 

"Just a mozo of the town. His father was a cargador. As a lanky 
boy he ran about die wharf in rags, till Nostromo took him up and 
made a man of him. When he got a little older he put him into a 
lighter, and very soon gave him charge of die No. 3 boat— die boat 
which took the silver away, Mrs. Gould. Nostromo selected that 
lighter for die work because she was the best sailing and die 
strongest boat of all die company's fleet. Young Ramirez was one 
of die five cargadores entrusted with die removal of die treasure 
from die custom house on diat famous night. As the boat he had 
charge of was sunk, Nostromo, on leaving die company's sendee, 
recommended him to Captain Mitchell for his successor. He had 
trained him in die routine of work perfectly, and dius Mr. 
Ramirez, from a starving waif, becomes a man and die capataz of 
die Sulaco cargadores." 

"Thanks to Nostromo," said Mrs. Gould, with warm approval. 

"Thanks to Nostromo," repeated Dr. Monygham. "Upon my 
word, die fellow's power frightens me when I diink of it. That our 
poor old Mitchell was only too glad to appoint somebody trained 
to the work, who saved him trouble, is not surprising. What is 
wonderful is die fact diat die Sulaco cargadores accepted Ramirez 
for dieir chief, simply because such was Nostromo's good 
pleasure. Of course he is not a second Nostromo, as he fondly 
imagined he would be; but still, die position was brilliant enough. 
It emboldened him to make up to Giselle Viola, who, you know, is 



the recognized beauty of die town. The old Garibaldino, however, 
took a violent dislike to him. I don't know why. Perhaps because 
he was not a model of perfection like his Gian' Battista, die 
incarnation of die courage, die fidelity, the honor of 'the people.' 
Signor Viola does not diink much of Sulaco natives. Bodi of them, 
die old Spartan and diat tall, white -faced Linda, widi her red 
moudi and coal black eyes, were looking radier fiercely after the 
fair one. Ramirez was warned off. Fadier Viola, I am told, 
direatened him widi his gun once." 

"But what of Giselle herself?" asked Mrs. Gould. 

"She's a bit of a flirt, I believe," said die doctor. "I don't diink 
she cared much one way or anodier. Of course she likes men's 
attentions. Ramirez was not die only one, let me tell you, Mrs. 
Gould. There was one engineer, at least, on die railway staff who 
got warned off widi a gun, too. Old Viola does not allow any 
trifling widi his honor. He has grown uneasy and suspicious since 
his wife died. He was very pleased to remove his youngest girl 
away from die town. But look what happens, Mrs. Gould. 
Ramirez, die honest lovelorn swain, is forbidden die island. Very 
well. He respects the prohibition, but naturally turns his eyes 
frequently towards die Great Isabel. It seems as diough he had 
been in die habit of gazing late at night upon die light. And during 
tiiese sentimental vigils he discovers diat Nostromo, Captain 
Fidanza diat is, returns very late from his visits to the Violas. As 
late as midnight at times." 

The doctor paused and stared meaningly at Mrs. Gould. 

"Yes. But I don't understand," she began, looking puzzled. 

"Now conies die strange part," went on Dr. Monygham. 
"Viola, who is king on his island, will allow no visitor on it after 
dark. Even Captain Fidanza has got to leave after sunset, when 
Linda has gone up to tend die light. And Nostromo goes away 
obedientiy. It is well known. But what happens afterwards? What 
does he do in die gulf between half past six and midnight? He has 
been seen more dian once at diat late hour pulling quiedy into die 
harbor. Ramirez is devoured by jealousy. He dared not approach 
old Viola; but he plucked up courage to rail Linda about it one 
Sunday morning as she came on die mainland to hear mass and 
visit her modier's grave. There was a scene on die wharf, which, as 
a matter of fact, I witnessed. It was early morning. He must have 
been waiting for her on purpose. I was diere by the merest chance, 
having been called to an urgent consultation by die doctor of die 
German gunboat in die harbor. She poured wradi, scorn, and 
flame upon Ramirez, who seemed out of his mind. It was a strange 
sight, Mrs. Gould: die long jetty, widi tiiis raving cargador in his 
crimson sash and die girl all in black, at die end; die early Sunday 
morning quiet of die harbor in die shade of die mountains; 
nothing but a canoe or two moving between die ships at anchor 



and die German gunboat's gig coming to take me off. I am sure 
she was taken by surprise; I am sure it was news to her. She passed 
me widrin a foot. I noticed her wild eyes. I called out 'Linda!' She 
never heard me; she never saw me. But I looked at her face. It was 
awful in its anger and wretchedness." 

Mrs. Gould sat up, opening her eyes very wide. 

"What do you mean, Dr. Monygham? Do you mean to say 
tiiat you suspect die younger sister?" 

"Quien sabe! Who can tell," said the doctor, shrugging his 
shoulders like a born Costaguanero. "Ramirez came up to me on 
the wharf. He reeled— he looked insane. He took his head into his 
hands. He had to talk to some one— simply had to. Of course, for 
all his mad stare he recognized me. People know me well here. I 
have lived too long among diem to be anydiing else but the evil- 
eyed doctor, wiio can cure all die ills of die flesh and bring bad 
luck by a glance. He came up to me. He tried to be calm. He tried 
to make it out that he w r anted merely to w r arn me against 
Nostromo. It seems tiiat Captain Fidanza at some secret meeting 
or odier had denounced me as the worst enemy of all die poor— of 
die people. It's very possible. He honors me with his undying 
dislike. And a word from die great Fidanza may be quite enough 
to send some fool's knife into my back The sanitary commission I 
preside over is not in favor with die populace. 'Beware of him, 
Seiior Doctor! Destroy him, Senor Doctor!' Ramirez hissed right 
into my face. And dien he broke out: 'That man,' he spluttered, 
'has cast a spell upon both diese girls.' As to himself, he had said 
too much. He must run away now— run away and hide somewhere. 
He moaned tender exclamations about die girl, and dien called 
her names that cannot be repeated. If he diought she could be 
made to love him by any means, he would carry her off from die 
island. Off— into die woods. But it was no good. ... he strode 
away, flourishing his arms above his heart. Then I noticed an old 
negro, who had been sitting behind a pile of cases, fishing from die 
wharf. He wound up his lines and slunk away at once. But he must 
have heard somediing, and must have talked, too, because some of 
die old Garibaldino's railway friends, I suppose, warned him 
against Ramirez. At any rate, die fadier has been warned. But 
Ramirez has disappeared from the town." 

"I feel I have a duty towards diese girls," said Mrs. Gould, 
uneasily. "Is Nostromo in Sulaco now?" 

"He is, since last Sunday." 

"He ought to be spoken to— at once." 

"Who will dare speak to him? Fven die love -mad Ramirez 
runs away before die mere shadow of Captain Fidanza." 

"I can. I will," Mrs. Gould declared. "A word will be enough 
for a man like Nostromo." 

The doctor smiled sourly. 



"He must end this situation which lends itself to— I can't 
believe it of that child." pursued Mrs. Gould. 

"He's very attractive," muttered the doctor, gloomily. 

"He'll see it, I am sure. He must put an end to all this by 
marrying Linda at once," pronounced the first lad of Sulaco with 
immense decision. 

Through the garden gate emerged Basilio, grown fat and sleek, 
with an elderly hairless face, wrinkles at the corners of his eyes, 
and his jet-black, coarse hair plastered down smoothly. Stooping 
carefully behind an ornamental clump of bushes, he put down with 
precaution a small child he had been carrying on his shoulders— 
his own and Leonarda's last born. The pouting, spoiled camerista 
and the head mozo of the Casa Gould had been married for some 
years now. 

He remained squatting on his heels for some time, gazing 
fondly at his offspring, which returned his stare with imperturbable 
gravity; then, solemn and respectable, walked down the path. 

"What is it, Basilio?" asked Mrs. Gould. 

"A telephone came through from the office of the mine. The 
master remains to sleep at the mountain to-night." 

Dr. Monygham had got up and stood looking away. A 
profound silence reigned for a time under the shade of the biggest 
trees in the lovely gardens of the Casa Gould. 

"Very well, Basilio," said Mrs. Gould. She watched him walk 
away along the path, step aside behind a flowering bush, and 
reappear with the child seated on his shoulders. He passed 
through the gateway between the garden and the patio with 
measured steps, careful of his light burden. 

The doctor, with his back to Mrs. Gould, contemplated a 
flowerbed away in the sunshine. People believed him scornful and 
soured. The truth of his nature consisted in his capacity for 
passion and in the timidity of his temperament. What he lacked 
was the polished callousness of men of the world, the callousness 
from which springs an easy tolerance for one's self and others; the 
tolerance wide as poles asunder from true sympathy and human 
compassion. This want of callousness accounted for his sardonic 
turn of mind and his biting speeches. 

In profound silence, and glaring viciously at the brilliant 
flowerbed, Dr. Monygham poured mental imprecations on 
Charles Gould's head. Behind him the immobility of Mrs. Gould 
added to the grace of her seated figure the charm of art, of an 
attitude caught and interpreted forever. Turning abruptly, the 
doctor took his leave. 

Mrs. Gould leaned back in the shade of the big trees planted 
in a circle. She leaned back with her eyes closed and her white 
hands lying idle on the arms of her seat. The half-light under the 
thick mass of leaves brought out the youthful prettiness of her face; 



made the clear light fahrics and white lace of her dress appear 
luminous. Small and dainty, as if radiating a light of her own in the 
deep shade of the interlaced houghs, she resembled a good fairy, 
weary with a long career of well-doing, touched by the withering 
suspicion of the uselessness of her labors, the powerlessness of her 
magic. 

Had anybody asked her of what she was thinking, alone in the 
garden of the casa, with her husband at the mine and the house 
closed to the street like an empty dwelling, her frankness would 
have had to evade the question. It had come into her mind that for 
life to be large and full it must contain the care of the past and of 
die future in ever}? passing moment of the present. Our daily work 
must he done to the glory of the dead, and for the good of those 
who come after. She thought that, and sighed without opening her 
eyes— without moving at all. Mrs. Gould's face became set and rigid 
for a second, as if to receive, without flinching, a great wave of 
loneliness that swept over her head. And it came into her mind, 
too, that no one would ever ask her with solicitude what she was 
thinking of. No one. No one, but perhaps the man who had just 
gone away. No; no one who could be answered with careless 
sincerity in the ideal perfection of confidence. 

The word "incorrigible"— a word lately pronounced by Dr. 
Monygham— floated into her still and sad immobility. Incorrigible 
in his devotion to the great silver mine was the Senor 
Administrador! Incorrigible in his hard, determined service of the 
material interests to which he had pinned his faith in the triumph 
of order and justice. Poor boy! She had a clear vision of the gray 
hairs on his temples. He was perfect— perfect. What more could 
she have expected? It was a colossal and lasting success; and love 
was only a short moment of forgetfulness, a short intoxication, 
whose delight one remembered with a sense of sadness, as if it had 
been a deep grief lived through. There was something inherent in 
the necessities of successful action which carried with it the moral 
degradation of the idea. She saw the San Tome mountain hanging 
over the Campo, over the whole land, feared, hated, wealthy, more 
soulless than any tyrant, more pitiless and autocratic than tire worst 
government, ready to crush innumerable lives to the expansion of 
its greatness. He did not see it. He could not see it. It was not his 
fault. He was perfect, perfect; but she would never have him to 
herself. Never; not for one short hour altogether to herself in this 
old Spanish house she loved so well! Incorrigible, the last of the 
Corbelans, tire last of tire Avellanos, tire doctor had said; but she 
saw clearly tire San Tome mine possessing, consuming, burning up 
tire life of tire last of tire Costaguana Goulds; mastering the 
energetic spirit of tire son as it had nrastered tire lamentable 
weakness of tire father A terrible success for the last of the Goulds. 
The last! She had hoped for a long, long time, that perhaps— But 



no! There were to be no more. An immense desolation, the dread 
of her own continued life, descended upon the first lady of Sulaco. 
With a prophetic vision she saw herself surviving alone the 
degradation of her young ideal of life, of love, of work— all alone in 
the Treasure House of the World. The profound, blind, suffering 
expression of a painful dream settled on her face with its closed 
eyes. In the indistinct voice of an unlucky sleeper, lying passive in 
the toils of a merciless nightmare, she stammered out aimlessly the 
words: 

"Material interests." 



XII 



NOSTROMO had been growing rich very slowly. It was an effect 
of his prudence. He could command himself even when thrown 
off his balance. And to become the slave of a treasure with full self- 
knowledge is an occurrence rare and mentally disturbing. But it 
was also in a great part because of the difficulty of converting it into 
a form in which it could become available. The mere act of getting 
it away from the island piecemeal, little by little, was surrounded by 
difficulties, by the dangers of imminent detection. He had to visit 
the Great Isabel in secret, between his voyages along the coast, 
which were the ostensible source of his fortune. The crew of his 
own schooner were to be feared as if they had been spies upon 
their dreaded captain. He did not dare stay too long in port. When 
his coaster was unloaded he hurried away on another trip, for he 
feared arousing suspicion even by a day's delay. Sometimes during 
a week's stay, or more, he could only manage one visit to the 
treasure. And that was all. A couple of ingots. He suffered through 
his fears as much as through his prudence. To do firings by stealth 
humiliated him. And he suffered nrost fronr the concentration of 
his thought upon the treasure; as thought becomes concentrated, 
his unblemished reputation appeared nrore vividly as a nratter of 
life and death. 

A transgression, a crime, entering a nran's existence, eats it up 
like a malignant growth, consunres it like a fever. Nostromo had 
lost his peace; the genuineness of all his qualities was destroyed. 
He felt it himself, and often cursed the silver of San Tome. His 
courage, his magnificence, his leisure, his work, everything was as 
before, only everything was a sham. But the treasure was real. He 
clung to it with a nrore tenacious mental grip. But he hated the feel 
of the ingots. Sometimes, after putting away a couple of them in his 
cabin— the fruit of a secret night expedition to tire Great Isabel— he 
would look fixedly at his fingers, as if surprised they had left no 
stain on his skin. 



He had found means of disposing of die silver bars in distant 
ports. The necessity to go far afield made his coasting voyages 
long, and caused his visits to the Viola household to be rare and 
far between. He was fated to have his wife from there. He had said 
so once to Giorgio himself. But the Garibaldino had put the 
subject aside with a majestic wave of his hand, clutching a 
smouldering black briar root pipe. There was plenty of time; he 
was not the man to force his girls upon anybody. 

As time went on, Nostromo discovered his preference for the 
younger of the two. They had some profound similarities of 
nature, which must exist for complete confidence and 
understanding, no matter what outward differences of 
temperament there may be to exercise their own fascination of 
contrast. His wife would have to know his secret, or else life would 
be impossible He was attracted by Giselle, with her candid gaze 
and white throat, pliable, silent, fond of excitement under her 
quiet indolence; whereas Linda, with her intense, passionately pale 
face, energetic, all fire and words, touched with gloom and scorn, a 
chip of the old block, true daughter of the austere republican, but 
with Teresa's voice, inspired him with a deep-seated mistrust. 
Moreover, the poor girl could not conceal her love for Gian' 
Battista. He could see it would be violent, exacting, suspicious, 
uncompromising— like her soul. Giselle, by her fair but warm 
beauty, by the surface placidity of her nature holding a promise of 
submissiveness, by the charm of her girlish mysteriousness, excited 
his passion and allayed his fears as to the future. 

His absences from Sulaco were long. On returning from the 
longest of them, he made out lighters loaded with blocks of stone 
lying under die cliff of die Great Isabel; cranes and scaffolding 
above; workmen's figures moving about, and a small lighthouse 
already rising from its foundations on die edge of die cliff. 

At this unexpected, undreamed-of, startling sight, he thought 
himself lost irretrievably. What could save him from detection 
now? Nothing! He was struck with amazed dread at this turn of 
chance, that would kindle a far-reaching light upon die only secret 
spot of his life, whose very essence, value, reality, consisted in its 
reflection from the admiring eyes of men. All of it but that; and 
that was beyond common comprehension, something that stood 
between him and die power that hears and gives effect to die evil 
words of curses. It was dark. Not every man had such a darkness. 
And they were going to put a light there. A light. He saw it shining 
upon disgrace, poverty, contempt. Somebody was sure to. . . 
Perhaps somebody had already . . . 

The incomparable Nostromo, the Capataz, die respected and 
feared Captain Fidanza, die unquestioned oracle of secret 
societies, a republican like old Giorgio, and a revolutionist at heart 
(but in another manner), was on die point of jumping overboard 



from die deck of his own schooner. That man, subjective almost to 
insanity, looked suicide deliberately in die face. But he never lost 
his head, he was checked by die diought diat diis was no escape. 
He imagined himself dead, and die disgrace, die shame going on. 
Or rather, properly speaking, he could not imagine himself dead. 
He was possessed too strongly by die sense of his own existence, a 
tiling of infinite duration in its changes, to grasp the notion of 
finality. The earth goes on forever. 

And he was courageous. It was a corrupt courage, but it was as 
good for his purposes as die other kind. He sailed close to die cliff 
of the Great Isabel, throwing a penetrating glance from the deck at 
die mouth of the ravine, tangled in an undisturbed growth of 
bushes. He sailed close enough to exchange hails with the 
workmen, shading their eyes on the edge of die sheer drop of the 
cliff, overhung by the jib head of a powerful crane. He perceived 
that none of them had any occasion even to approach die ravine 
where the silver lay hidden, let alone to enter it. In die harbor he 
learned diat no one slept on die island. The laboring gangs 
returned to port every evening, singing chorus songs, in die empty 
lighters towed by a harbor tug. For die moment he had nodiing to 
fear. 

But afterwards? he asked himself. Later on, when a keeper 
came to live in die cottage diat was being built some hundred and 
fifty yards back from die low light tower, and four hundred or so 
from die dark, shaded, jungly ravine, containing die secret of his 
safety, of his influence, of his magnificence, of his power over the 
future, of his defiance of ill luck, of every possible betrayal from 
rich and poor alike— what dien? He could never shake off die 
treasure. His audacity, greater dian that of other men, had welded 
that vein of silver into his life. And the feeling of fearful and ardent 
subjection, the feeling of his slavery— so irremediable and profound 
that often in his thoughts he compared himself to die legendary 
gringos, neidier dead nor alive, bound down to their conquest of 
unlawful wealdi on Azuera— weighed heavily on die independent 
Captain Fidanza, owner and master of a coasting schooner, whose 
smart appearance and fabulous good luck in trading were so well 
known along die western seaboard of a vast continent. 

Fiercely whiskered and grave, a shade less supple in his walk, 
die vigor and symmetry of his powerful limbs lost in the vulgarity 
of a brown tweed suit, made by Jews in die slums of London and 
sold by die clodiing department of the Compania Anzani, Captain 
Fidanza was seen in die streets of Sulaco attending to his business, 
as usual, diat trip. And, as usual, he allowed it to get about diat he 
had made a great profit on his cargo. It was a cargo of salt fish, and 
Lent was approaching. He was seen in tram cars going to and fro 
between the town and die harbor; he talked with people in a cafe 
or two in his measured, steady voice. Captain Fidanza was seen. 



The generation that would know nothing of the famous ride to 
Cayta was not horn yet. 

Nostromo, the miscalled capataz de cargadores, had made for 
himself, under his rightful name, another public existence, but 
modified by the new conditions, less picturesque, more difficult to 
keep up in the increased size and varied population of Sulaco, the 
progressive capital of the Occidental Republic. 

Captain Fidanza, unpicturesque, but always a little mysterious, 
was recognized quite sufficiently under the lofty glass and iron roof 
of the Sulaco railway station He took a local train, and got out in 
Rincon, where he visited the widow of the cargador who had died 
of his wounds (at the dawn of the New Era, like Don Jose 
Avellanos) in the patio of the Casa Gould. He consented to sit 
down and drink a glass of cool lemonade in the hut, while the 
woman, standing up, poured a perfect torrent of words to which he 
did not listen. He left some money with her, as usual. The 
orphaned children, growing up and well schooled, calling him 
uncle, clamored for his blessing. He gave that, too; and in the 
doorway paused for a moment to look at the flat face of the San 
Tome mountain with a faint frown This slight contraction of his 
bronzed brow casting a marked tinge of severity upon his usual 
unbending expression, was observed at the lodge which he 
attended— but went away before the banquet. He wore it at the 
meeting of some good comrades, Italians and Occidentals, 
assembled in his honor under the presidency of an indigent, sickly, 
somewhat hunchbacked little photographer, with a white face, and 
a magnanimous soul dyed crimson by a bloodthirsty hate of all 
capitalists, oppressors of the two hemispheres. The heroic Giorgio 
Viola, old revolutionist, would have understood nothing of his 
opening speech; and Captain Fidanza, lavishly generous as usual to 
some poor comrades, made no speech at all. He had listened, 
frowning, with his mind far away, and walked off unapproachable, 
silent, like a man full of cares. 

His frown deepened as, in the early morning, he watched the 
stone masons go off to the Great Isabel in lighters loaded with 
squared blocks of stone, enough to add another course to the 
squat light tower. That was the rate of the work. One course per 
day. 

And Captain Fidanza meditated. The presence of strangers on 
the island would cut him completely off the treasure. It had been 
difficult and dangerous enough before. He was afraid, and he was 
angry. He thought with the resolution of a master and the cunning 
of a cowed slave. Then he went ashore. 

He was a man of resource and ingenuity; and, as usual, the 
expedient he found at a critical moment was effective enough to 
alter the situation radically. He had the gift of evolving safety out of 
the very danger, this incomparable Nostromo, this "fellow in a 



thousand." With Giorgio established on die Great Isabel, diere 
would be no need for concealment. He would be able to go 
openly, in daylight, to see his daughters— one of his daughters— and 
stay late talking to die old Garibaldino. Then in die dark . . . Night 
after night . . . He would dare to grow rich quicker now. He 
yearned to clasp, embrace, absorb, subjugate in unquestioned 
possession diis treasure, whose tyranny had weighed upon his 
mind, his actions, his very sleep. 

He went to see his friend Captain Mitchell— and the tiling was 
done as Dr. Monygham had related to Mrs. Gould. When the 
project was mooted to die Garibaldino, something like the faint 
reflection, the dim ghost of a very ancient smile, stole under die 
white and enormous mustaches of die old hater of kings and 
ministers. His daughters were die object of his anxious care. The 
younger, especially. Linda, with her mother's voice, had taken 
more her mother's place. Her deep, vibrating "Eh, padre?" 
seemed, but for die change of die word, the very echo of die 
impassioned, remonstrating "Eh, Giorgio?" of poor Signora 
Teresa. It was his fixed opinion that the town was no proper place 
for his girls. The infatuated but guileless Ramirez was die object of 
his profound aversion, as resuming die sins of die country whose 
people were blind, vile, esclavos. 

On his return from his next voyage, Captain Eidanza found die 
Violas settled in the light keeper's cottage. His knowledge of 
Giorgio's idiosyncrasies had not played him false. The Garibaldino 
had refused to entertain die idea of any companion whatever, 
except his girls. And Captain Mitchell, anxious to please his poor 
Nostromo, with that felicity of inspiration which only true affection 
can give, had formally appointed Linda Viola as under-keeper of 
die Isabel's light. 

"The light is private property," he used to explain. "It belongs 
to my company. I've the power to nominate whom I like, and 
Viola it shall be. It's about die only tiling Nostromo— a man wordi 
his weight in gold, mind you— had ever asked me to do for him." 

Directly his schooner was anchored opposite die new custom 
house, with its sham air of a Greek temple, flat roofed, with a 
colonnade, Captain Eidanza went pulling his small boat out of die 
harbor, bound for die Great Isabel, openly in die light of a 
declining day, before all men's eyes, with a sense of having 
mastered die fates. He must establish a regular position. He would 
ask him for his daughter now. He diought of Giselle as he pulled. 
Linda loved him, perhaps, but die old man would be glad to keep 
the eldest, who was like a daughter and wife in one. 

He did not pull for die narrow strand where he had landed 
with Decoud, and afterwards alone on his first visit to die treasure. 
He made for die beach at die odier end, and walked up the 
regular and gende slope of die wedge shaped island. Giorgio Viola, 



whom he saw from afar sitting on a bench under the front wall of 
the cottage, lifted his arm slightly to his loud hail. He walked up. 
Neither of tire girls appeared. 

"It is good here," said tire old man, in his austere, faraway 
manner. 

Nostromo nodded; then, after a short silence: 

"You saw my schooner pass in not two hours ago? Do you 
know why I am here before, so to speak, my anchor has fairly 
bitten into the ground of this port of Sulaco?" 

"You are welcome like a son," the old man declared, quietly, 
staring away upon tire sea. 

"All! dry son. I know. I am what dry son would have been. It is 
well, viejo. It is a very good welcome. Listen, I have come to ask 
you for—" 

A sudden dread came upon the fearless and incorruptible 
Nostromo. Me dared not utter die name in his mind. The slight 
pause only imparted a marked weight and solemnity to die 
changed end of die phrase. 

"For my wife!" . . . His heart was heating fast. "It is time you—" 

The Garibaldino arrested him with an extended arm. "That 
was left for you to judge." 

He got up slowly. His beard, undipped since Teresa's deadi, 
thick, snow white, covered his powerful chest. He turned his head 
to die door and called out in his strong voice: 

"Linda." 

Her answer came sharp and faint from within; and the 
appalled Nostromo stood up too, but remained mute, gazing at die 
door. He was afraid. He was not afraid of being refused die girl he 
loved— no mere refusal could stand between him and a woman he 
desired— but die shining spectre of die treasure rose before him, 
claiming his allegiance in a silence diat could not be gainsaid. He 
was afraid because, neidier dead nor alive, like die gringos on 
Azuera, he belonged body and soul to die unlawfulness of his 
audacity. He was afraid of being forbidden the island. He was 
afraid, and said nodiing. 

Seeing die two men standing up side by side to await her, 
Linda stopped in die doorway. Nodiing could alter die passionate 
dead whiteness of her face; but her black eyes seemed to catch and 
concentrate all die light of die low sun in a flaming spark within the 
black depdis, covered at once by die slow descent of heavy eyelids. 

"Behold thy husband, master, and benefactor." Old Viola's 
voice resounded with a force diat seemed to fill die whole gulf. 

She stepped forward with her eyes nearly closed, like a 
sleepwalker in a beatific dream. 

Nostromo made a superhuman effort. "It is time, Linda, we 
two were betrodied," he said, steadily, in his level, careless, 
unbending tone. 



She put her hand into his offered palm, lowering her head, 
dark with hronze glints, upon which her father's hand rested for a 
moment. 

"And so die soul of the dead is satisfied." 

This came from Giorgio Viola, who went on talking for a while 
of his dead wife; while the two, sitting side by side, never looked at 
each other. Then the old man ceased; and Linda, motionless, 
began to speak. 

"Ever since I felt I lived in the world, I have lived for you 
alone, Gian' Battista. And that you knew! You knew it . . . 
Battistino." 

She pronounced the name exactly with her mother's 
intonation. A gloom as of the grave covered Nostromo's heart. 

"Yes. I knew," he said. 

The heroic Garibaldino sat on the same bench bowing his 
hoary head, his old soul dwelling alone with its memories, tender 
and violent, terrible and dreary— all alone on the earth full of men. 

And Linda, his best loved daughter, was saying, "I was yours 
ever since I can remember. I had only to think of you for the earth 
to become empty to my eyes. When you were there, I could see 
no one else. I was yours. Nothing is changed. The world belongs 
to you, and you let me live in it." . . . She dropped her low, 
vibrating voice to a still lower note, and found other tilings to say- 
torturing for die man at her side. Her murmur ran on ardent and 
voluble. She did not seem to see her sister, who came out with an 
altar cloth she was embroidering in her hands, and passed in front 
of them, silent, fresh, fair, with a quick glance and a faint smile, to 
sit a little away on the other side of Nostromo. 

The evening was still. The sun sank almost to the edge of a 
purple ocean, and die white lighthouse, livid against the 
background of clouds filling die head of die gulf, bore die lantern 
red and glowing, like a live ember kindled by the fire of die sky. 
Giselle, indolent and demure, raised die altar cloth from time to 
time to hide nervous yawns, as of a young panther. 

Suddenly Linda rushed at her sister, and seizing her head, 
covered her face with kisses. Nostromo's brain reeled. When she 
left her, as if stunned by die violent caresses, with her hands lying 
in her lap, the slave of the treasure felt as if he could shoot that 
woman. Old Giorgio lifted his leonine head. 

"Where are you going, Linda?" 

"To the light, padre mio." 

"Si, si— to your duty." 

He got up, too, looked after his eldest daughter; then, in a tone 
whose festive note seemed die echo of a mood lost in the night of 
ages: 

"I am going in to cook something. Aha! Son! The old man 
knows where to find a bottle of wine, too." 



He turned to Giselle, with a change to austere tenderness. 

"And you, little one, pray not to die God of priests and slaves, 
but to die God of orphans, of die oppressed, of die poor, of little 
children, to give diee a man like diis one for a husband." 

His hand rested heavily for a moment on Nostromo's 
shoulder; dien he went in. The hopeless slave of die San Tome 
silver felt at diese words die venomous fangs of jealousy biting 
deep into his heart. He was appalled by die novelty of die 
experience, by its force, by its physical intimacy. A husband! A 
husband for her! And yet it was natural diat Giselle should have a 
husband at some time or odier. He had never realized diat before. 
In discovering diat her beauty could belong to anodier he felt as 
diough he could kill this one of old Giorgio's daughters also. He 
muttered moodily: 

"They say you love Ramirez." 

She shook her head widiout looking at him. Coppery glints 
rippled to and fro on die wealth of her gold hair. Her smoodi 
forehead had die soft, pure sheen of a priceless pearl in the 
splendor of die sunset, mingling the gloom of starry spaces, the 
purple of die sea and die crimson of the sky in a magnificent 
stillness. 

"No," she said, slowly. "I never loved him. I diink I never . . . 
He loves me— perhaps." 

The seduction of her slow voice died out of die air, and her 
raised eyes remained fixed on nothing, as if indifferent and widiout 
diought. 

"Ramirez told you he loved you?" asked Nostromo, restraining 
himself. 

"All! once— one evening . . 

"The miserable . . . Ha!" 

He had jumped up as if stung by a gadfly, and stood before her 
mute widi anger. 

"Misericordia Divina! You, too, Gian' Battista! Poor wretch 
diat I am!" She lamented herself in ingenuous tones. "I told Linda, 
and she scolded— she scolded. Am I to live blind, dumb, and deaf 
in this world? And she told fadier, who took down his gun and 
cleaned it. Poor Ramirez! Then you came, and she told you." 

He looked at her. He fastened his eyes upon die hollow of her 
white diroat, which had the invincible charm of tilings young, 
palpitating, delicate, and alive. Was this die child he had known? 
Was it possible? It dawned upon him that in these last years he 
had really seen very little — nodiing— of her. Nodiing. She had come 
into die world like a tiling unknown. She had come upon him 
unawares. She was a danger— a frightful danger. The instinctive 
mood of fierce determination diat had never failed him before die 
perils of this life added its steady force to die violence of his 
passion She, in a voice that recalled to him die song of running 



water, die tinkling of a silver bell, continued: 

"And between you diree you have brought me here into diis 
captivity to the sky and water. Nodiing else. Sky and water. Oh, 
Sanctissima Madre! My hair shall turn gray in this tedious island. I 
hate you, Gian' Battista!" 

He laughed out loudly. Her voice enveloped him like a caress. 
She lamented herself, spreading unconsciously, like a flower its 
perfume in die coolness of the evening, die indefinable seduction 
of her person. Was it her fault that nobody ever had admired 
Linda? Even when they were little, going out with their mother to 
mass, she remembered that people took no notice of Linda, who 
was fearless, and chose instead to frighten her, who was timid, with 
their attention. It was her hair like gold, she supposed. 

He broke out: 

"Your hair like gold, and your eyes like violets, and your lips 
like die rose; your round arms, your white throat." 

Imperturbable in die indolence of her pose, she blushed 
deeply all over to die roots of her hair. She was not conceited. She 
was no more self-conscious dian a flower. But she was pleased. 
And perhaps even a flower loves to hear itself praised. He glanced 
down, and added, impetuously: 

"Your litde feet!" 

Leaning back against die rough stone wall of die cottage, she 
seemed to bask languidly in die warmdi of die rosy flush. Only her 
lowered eyes glanced at her litde feet. 

"And so you are going at last to many our Linda. She is 
terrible. Ah! now she will understand better since you have told 
her you love her. She will not be so fierce." 

"Chica!" said Nostromo, "I have not told her anything." 

"Then make haste. Come tomorrows Come and tell her, so 
diat I may have some peace from her scolding, and— perhaps— who 
knows ..." 

"Be allowed to listen to your Ramirez, eh? Is diat it? You . . ." 

"Mercy of God! How violent you are, Giovanni!" she said, 
unmoved. "Who is Ramirez . . . Ramirez . . . Who is he?" she 
repeated dreamily, in the dusk and gloom of die clouded gulf, with 
a low red streak in the west like a hot bar of glowing iron laid 
across die entrance of a world sombre as a cavern, where die 
magnificent capataz de cargadores had stored his conquests of love 
and wealdi. 

"Listen, Giselle," he said, in measured tones; "I will tell no 
word of love to your sister. Do you want to know r why?" 

"Alas! I could not understand perhaps, Giovanni. Fadier says 
you are not like odier men; that no one had ever understood you 
properly; diat die rich will be surprised yet . . . Oh! saints in 
heaven! I am weary." 

She raised her embroidery to conceal die lower part of her 



face, then let it fall on her lap. The lantern was shaded on tire land 
side, hut slanting away from the dark column of tire lighthouse 
the)' could see the long shaft of light, kindled by Linda, go out to 
strike tire expiring glow in a horizon of purple and red. 

Giselle Viola, with her head resting against tire wall of tire 
house, her eyes half closed, and her little, feet, in white stockings 
and black slippers, crossed over each other, seenred to surrender 
herself, tranquil and fatal to tire gathering dusk. The charm of her 
body, tire promising nrysteriousness of her indolence, went out 
into tire night of tire Placid Gulf like a fresh and intoxicating 
fragrance spreading out in tire shadows, impregnating tire air. The 
incorruptible Nostronro breathed her ambient seduction in the 
tunrultuous heaving of his breast. Before leaving the harbor he had 
thrown off tire store clothing of Captain Fidanza, for greater ease in 
the long pull out to tire islands. He stood before her in the red 
sash and check shirt as he used to appear on tire company's 
wharf— a Mediterranean sailor conre ashore to try his luck in 
Costaguana. The dusk of purple and red enveloped him too- 
close, soft, profound, as no nrore than fifty yards fronr that spot it 
had gathered evening alter evening about tire self-destructive 
passion of Don Martin Decoud's utter scepticism, flaming up to 
death in solitude. 

"You have got to hear," he began at last, with perfect self- 
control. "I shall say no word of love to your sister, to whom I am 
betrothed fronr this evening, because it is you that I love. It is you!" 

The dusk let him see yet tire tender and voluptuous snrile that 
came instinctively upon her lips, shaped for love and kisses, freeze 
hard in tire drawn, haggard lines of terror. He could not restrain 
himself any longer. While she shrank fronr his approach her arnrs 
went out to him, abandoned and regal in tire dignity of her languid 
surrender. He held her head in his two hands, and showered rapid 
kisses upon tire upturned forehead, that gleanred smooth, like 
white satin, in tire purple dusk. Masterful and tender, he was 
entering slowly upon tire fullness of his possession. And he 
perceived that she was crying. Then tire incomparable capataz, the 
man of careless loves, became gentle and caressing, like a wonran 
to tire grief of a child. He nrurnrured to her fondly. He sat down 
by her and nursed her fair head on his breast. He called her his 
star and his little flower. 

It had grown dark. Fronr tire living roonr of tire light keeper's 
cottage, were Giorgio, one of tire immortal thousand, was bending 
his leonine and heroic head over a charcoal fire, there canre tire 
sound of sizzling and tire aronra of an artistic frittura. 

In tire obscure disarray of that tiring, happening like a 
cataclysm, it was in her fenrinine head that sonre gleam of reason 
survived. He was lost to tire world in their embraced stillness. But 
she said, whispering into his ear: 



"God of mercy! What will become of me— here— now— between 
this sky and this water I hate? Linda, Linda— I see her!" . . . She 
struggled out of his arms, suddenly relaxed at die sound of diat 
name. But there was no one approaching dieir black shapes, 
enlaced and struggling on die white background of die wall. 
"Linda! Poor Linda! I tremble! I shall die of fear before my poor 
sister Linda, betrodied today to Giovanni— my lover! Giovanni, you 
must have been mad! I cannot understand you! You are not like 
odier men! I will not give you up— never— only to God himself! But 
why have you done this blind, mad, cruel, frightful diing?" 

Released, she hung her head, let fall her hands. The altar 
cloth, as it tossed by a great wind, lay far away from diem, gleaming 
white on die black ground, "From fear of losing my hope of you," 
said Nostromo. 

"You knew that you had my soul! You know everything! It was 
made for you! But what could stand between you and me? What? 
Tell me!" she repeated, widiout impatience, in superb assurance. 

"Your dead mother," he said, very low. 

"All! . . . Poor modier! She has always . . . She is a saint in 
heaven now, and I cannot give you up to her. No, Giovanni. Only 
to God alone. You were mad— but it is done. Oh! what have you 
done? Giovanni, my beloved, my life, my master, do not leave me 
here in diis grave of clouds. You cannot leave me now! You must 
take me away— at once— this instant— in die little boat. Giovanni, 
carry me off tonight, from my fear of Linda's eyes, before I have to 
look at her again." 

She nestied close to him. The slave of die San Tome silver felt 
the weight as of chains upon his limbs, a pressure as of a cold hand 
upon his lips. He struggled against die spell. 

"I cannot." he said. "Not yet. There is some tiling that stands 
between us two and die freedom of die world." 

She pressed her form closer to his side widi a subtle and naive 
instinct of seduction. 

"You rave, Giovanni— my lover!" she whispered engagingly. 
"What can diere be? Carry me off— in thy very hands— to Dona 
Lmilia— away from here. I am not very heavy." 

It seemed as diough she expected him to lift her up at once in 
his two palms. She had lost die notion of all impossibility. 
Anything could happen on diis night of wonder. As he made no 
movement, she almost cried aloud: 

"I tell you I am afraid of Linda!" And still he did not move. 
She became quiet and wily. "What can diere be?" she asked, 
coaxingly. 

He felt her warm, breadiing, alive, quivering in the hollow of 
his arm. In the exulting consciousness of his strength, and die 
triumphant excitement of his mind, he struck a blow for his 
freedom. 



"A treasure," he said. All was still. She did not understand. "A 
treasure. A treasure of silver to huy a gold crown lor thy hrow." 

"A treasure?" she repeated in a faint voice, as if from the 
depths of a dream. "What is it you say?" 

She disengaged herself gently. He got up and looked down at 
her, aware of her face, of her hair, her lips, the dimples on her 
cheeks— seeing the fascination of her person in tire night of the gulf 
as if in tire hlaze of noonday. Her nonchalant and seductive voice 
tremhled with tire excitement of admiring awe and ungovernahle 
curiosity. 

"A treasure of silver!" she stammered out. Then pressed on 
faster. "What? Where? How did you get it, Giovanni?" 

He wrestled with tire spell of captivity. It was as if striking a 
heroic hlow that he hurst out: 

"Like a thiefl" 

The densest hlackness of tire Placid Gulf seenred to fall upon 
her head He could not see her now She had vanished into a long, 
ohscure, ahysmal silence, whence her voice canre hack to him after 
a tinre with a faint glimmer, which was her face. 

"I love you! I love you!" 

Those words gave hinr an unwonted sense of freedonr; they 
cast a spell stronger than tire accursed spell of tire treasure; they 
changed his weary subjection to that dead tiring into an exulting 
conviction of his power. He would cherish her, he said, in a 
splendor as great as Dona Enrilia's. The rich lived on wealth stolen 
from tire people, hut he had taken fronr tire rich nothing— nothing 
that was not lost to them already by their folly and their betrayal. 
For he had been betrayed— he said— deceived, tenrpted. She 
believed hinr. . . . He had kept the treasure for purposes of 
revenge; but now he cared nothing for it. He cared only for her. 
He would put her beauty in a palace on a hill crowned with olive 
trees— a white hill above a blue sea. He would keep her there like a 
jewel in a casket. He would get land for her— her own land fertile 
with vines and corn— to set her little feet upon. He embraced them. 
. . . He had already paid for it all with tire soul of a woman and tire 
life of a man. . . . The capataz de cargadores tasted tire suprenre 
intoxication of his generosity. He flung the nrastered treasure 
superbly at her feet in tire impenetrable darkness of tire gulf, in tire 
darkness defying— as men said— tire knowledge of God and the wit 
of tire devil. But she nrust let hinr to grow rich first— he warned her. 

She listened as if in a trance. Her fingers stirred in his hair. He 
got up fronr his knees reeling, weak, empty, as though he had flung 
his soul away. 

"Make haste, then," she said. "Make haste, Giovanni, my 
lover, my master, for I will give thee up to no one but God. And I 
am afraid of Linda." 

He guessed at her shudder, and swore to do his best. He 



trusted die courage of her love. She promised to he brave in order 
to he loved always— far away in a palace upon a white kill above a 
blue sea. Then widi a timid, tentative eagerness she murmured: 

"Where is it? Where? Tell me that, Giovanni." He opened his 
mouth and remained silent— thunderstruck. 

"Not that! Not that!" he gasped out, appalled at the spell of 
secrecy that had kept him dumb before so many people, falling 
upon his lips with unimpaired force. Not even to her. Not even to 
her. It was too dangerous. "I forbid thee to ask!" he cried at her, 
deadening cautiously the anger of his voice. 

He had not regained his freedom. The spectre of the unlawful 
treasure arose, standing by her side like a figure of silver, pitiless 
and secret with a finger upon its pale lips His soul died within him 
at the vision of himself creeping in presently along the ravine, with 
the smell of earth, of damp foliage in his nostrils— creeping in, 
determined in a purpose that numbed his breast, and creeping out 
again loaded with silver, with his ears alert to every sound. It must 
be done on this very night— that work of a craven slave! 

He stooped low, pressed the hem of her skirt to his lips, with a 
muttered command: 

"Tell him I would not stay," and was gone suddenly from her, 
silent, without as much as a footfall in the dark night. 

She sat still, her head resting indolently against the wall, and 
her little feet in white stockings and black slippers crossed over 
each other. Old Giorgio, coming out, did not seem to be surprised 
at tfie intelligence as much as she had vaguely feared. For she was 
full of inexplicable fear now— fear of everything and everybody, 
except of her Giovanni and his treasure. But that was incredible. 

The heroic Garibaldino accepted Nostromo's abrupt 
departure with a sagacious indulgence. He remembered his own 
feelings, and exhibited a masculine penetration of the true state of 
the case. 

"Va bene. Let him go. Ha! ha! No matter how fair the woman, 
it galls a little. Liberty, liberty. There's more than one kind! He has 
said die great word, and son Gian' Battista is not tame." He 
seemed to be instructing die motionless and scaled Giselle. . . . "A 
man should not be tame," he added dogmatically out die doorway. 
Her stillness and silence seemed to displease him. "Do not give 
way to die enviousness of your sister's lot," he admonished her, 
very grave, in his deep voice. 

Presendy he had to come to die door again to call in his 
younger daughter. It was late. He shouted her name diree times 
before she even moved her head. Left alone, she had become die 
helpless prey of astonishment. She walked into the bedroom she 
shared with Linda like a person profoundly asleep. That aspect 
was so marked diat even old Giorgio, spectacled, raising his eyes 
from die Bible, shook his head as she shut the door behind her. 



She walked right across the room without looking at anything, 
and sat down at once by the open window. Linda, stealing down 
from die tower in die exuberance of her happiness, found her widi 
a lighted candle at her back, facing die black night full of sighing 
gusts of wind and die sound of distant showers— a true night of the 
gulf, too dense for die eye of God and die wiles of die devil. She 
did not turn her head at the opening of die door. 

There was something in her immobility which reached Linda 
in die depdis of her paradise. The elder sister guessed angrily: the 
child is diinking of diat wretched Ramirez. Linda longed to talk. 
She said, in her arbitrary voice, "Giselle!" and was not answered by 
die slightest movement. 

The girl diat was going to live in a palace and walk on ground 
of her own was ready to die widi terror. Not for anydiing in die 
world would she have turned her head to face her sister. Her heart 
was beating madly. She said, widi subdued haste: 

"Do not speak to me. I am praying." 

Linda, disappointed, went out quietly; and Giselle sat on 
unbelieving, lost, dazed, patient, as if waiting for die confirmation 
of die incredible. The hopeless blackness of die clouds seemed 
part of a dream too. She waited. 

She did not wait in vain. The man whose soul was dead within 
him, creeping out of die ravine, weighted widi silver, had seen die 
gleam of die lighted window, and could not help retracing his steps 
from the beach. 

On diat impenetrable background, obliterating die lofty 
mountains by die seaboard, she saw die slave of die San Tome 
silver, as if by an extraordinary power of a miracle. She accepted 
his return as if die world could hold no surprise for her on diat 
night. 

She rose compelled and rigid, and began to speak long before 
die light from within fell upon die face of die approaching man. 

"You have come back to carry me off. It is well! Open thy 
arms, Giovanni, my lover. I am coming." His prudent footsteps 
stopped, and, widi his eyes glistening wildly, he spoke in a harsh 
voice: 

"Not yet. I must grow rich slowly." ... A direatening note 
came into his tone. "Do not forget diat you have a diief for your 
lover." 

"Yes! Yes!" she whispered hastily. "Come nearer! Listen! Do 
not give me up, Giovanni! Never, never! ... I will be patient! . . ." 

Her form drooped consolingly over the low casement towards 
the slave of the unlawful treasure. The light in die room went out, 
and, weighted with silver, die magnificent capataz clasped her 
round her white neck in die darkness of die gulf as a drowning 
man clutches at a straw. 



XIII 

ON die day Mrs. Gould was going, in Dr. Monygham's words, to 
"give a tertulia," Captain Fidanza went down the side of his 
schooner tying in Sulaco harbor, calm, unbending, deliberate in 
the way he sat down in his dinghy and took up his sculls. He was 
later than usual. The afternoon was well advanced before he 
landed on die beach of the Great Isabel, and widi a steady pace 
climbed die slope of die island. 

From a distance he made out Giselle sitting in a chair tilted 
back against die end of die house, under die window of die girls' 
room. She had her embroidery in her hands, and held it well up to 
her eyes. The tranquility of diat girlish figure exasperated die 
feeling of perpetual struggle and strife he carried in his breast. He 
became angry. It seemed to him that she ought to hear die 
clanking of his fetters— his silver fetters— from afar. And while 
ashore that day he had met the doctor with die evil eye, who had 
looked at him very hard. 

The raising of her eyes mollified him. They smiled in their 
flowerlike freshness straight upon his heart Then she frowned. It 
was a warning to be cautious. He stopped some distance away, and 
in a loud, indifferent tone, said: 

"Good day, Giselle. Is Linda up yet?" 

"Yes. She is in die big room with father." 

He approached then, and, looking dirough die window into 
the bedroom for fear of being detected by Linda returning there 
for some reason, he said, moving only his lips: 

"You love me?" 

"More dian my life." She went on with her embroidery under 
his contemplating gaze, and continued to speak, looking at her 
work, "Or I could not live. I could not, Giovanni. For this life is 
like death. Oh, Giovanni, I shall perish if you do not take me 
away." 

He smiled carelessly. "I will come to die window when it's 
dark," he said. 

"No, don't, Giovanni. Not tonight. Linda and fadier have been 
talking together for a long time today." 

"What about?" 

"Ramirez, I fancy I heard. I do not know. I am afraid. I am 
always afraid. It is like dying a thousand times a day. Your love is 
to me like your treasure to you. It is there, but I can never get 
enough of it." 

He looked at her very still. She was beautiful. His desire had 
grown within him. He had two masters now. But she was incapable 
of sustained emotion. She was sincere in what she said, but she 
slept placidly at night. When she saw him she flamed up always. 



Then only an increased taciturnity marked die change in her. She 
was afraid of betraying herself. She was afraid of pain, of bodily 
harm, of sharp words, of facing anger, and witnessing pain. For her 
soul was light and tender widi a pagan sincerity in its impulses. She 
murmured: 

"Give up die palazzo, Giovanni, and die vineyard on die hills, 
for which we are starving our love." 

She ceased, seeing Linda standing silent at die corner of die 
house. 

Nostromo turned to his affianced wife with a greeting, and was 
amazed at her sunken eyes, at her hollow cheeks, at the air of 
illness and anguish in her face. 

"Have you been ill?" he asked, trying to put some concern into 
die question. 

Her black eyes blazed at him "Am I diinner?" she asked. 

"Yes— perhaps— a little." 

"And older?" 

"Every day counts— for all of us." 

"I shall go gray, I fear, before the ring is on my finger," she 
said, slowly, keeping her gaze fastened upon him. 

She waited for what he would say, rolling down her turned-up 
sleeves. 

"No fear of diat," he said, absendy. 

She turned away as if it had been somediing final, and busied 
herself with household cares while Nostromo talked with her 
fadier. Conversation with die old Garibaldino was not easy. Age 
had left his faculties unimpaired, only diey seemed to have 
wididrawn somewhere deep within him. His answers were slow in 
coming, with an effect of august gravity. But diat day he was more 
animated, quicker; diere seemed to be more life in die old lion. 
He was uneasy for die integrity of his honor. He believed Sidoni's 
warning as to Ramirez's designs upon his younger daughter. And 
he did not trust her. She was flighty. He said nodiing of his cares to 
"Son Gian' Battista." It was a touch of senile vanity. He wanted to 
show diat he was equal yet to die task of guarding alone die honor 
of his house. 

Nostromo went away early. As soon as he had disappeared, 
walking towards die beach, Linda stepped over die direshold and, 
with a haggard smile, sat down by die side of her fadier. 

Ever since diat Sunday when die infatuated and desperate 
Ramirez had waited for her on die wharf she had no doubts 
whatever. The jealous ravings of diat man were no revelation. 
They had only fixed with precision, as with a nail driven into her 
heart, that sense of unreality and deception which, instead of bliss 
and security, she had found in her intercourse with her promised 
husband. She had passed on, pouring indignation and scorn upon 
Ramirez; but diat Sunday she nearly died of wretchedness and 



shame, lying on die carved and lettered stone of Teresa's grave, 
subscribed for by die engine drivers and die fitters of die railway 
workshops, in sign of dieir respect for the hero of Italian unity. 
Old Viola had not been able to carry out his desire of burying his 
wife in die sea; and Linda wept upon the stone. 

The gratuitous outrage appalled her. If he wished to break her 
heart— well and good. Everything was permitted to Gian' Battista. 
But why trample upon die pieces? why seek to humiliate her 
spirit? Aha! He could not break that. She dried her tears. And 
Giselle! Giselle! The little one diat, ever since she could toddle, 
had always clung to her skirt for protection, What duplicity! But 
she could not help it probably. When diere was a man in die case 
die poor feadierheaded wretch could not help herself, 

Linda had a good share of die Viola stoicism. She resolved to 
say nodiing, But woman-like she put passion into her stoicism. 
Giselle's short answers, prompted by fearful caution, drove her 
beside herself by their curtness diat resembled disdain. One day 
she flung herself upon the chair in which her indolent sister was 
lying and impressed die mark of her teedi at die base of die whitest 
neck in Sulaco. Giselle cried out. But she had her share of die 
Viola heroism Ready to faint widi terror, she only said, in a lazy 
voice, "Madre do Dios! Are you going to eat me alive, Linda?" 
And diis outburst passed off, leaving no trace upon die situation. 
"She knows nodiing She cannot know anything," reflected Giselle. 
"Perhaps it is not true. It cannot be true," Linda tried to persuade 
herself. 

But when she saw Captain Fidanza for die first time after her 
meeting with die distracted Ramirez, die certitude of her 
misfortune returned. She watched him from die doorway go away 
to his boat, asking herself stoically, "Will diey meet tonight?" She 
made up her mind not to leave the tower for a second. When he 
had disappeared she came out and sat down by her father. 

The venerable Garibaldino felt, in his own words, "A young 
man yet." In one way or anodier a good deal of talk about Ramirez 
had reached him of late; and his contempt and dislike of diat man, 
who obviously was not what his son would have been, had made 
him restiess. He slept very little now, but for several nights past 
instead of reading— or only sitting, with Mrs. Gould's silver 
spectacles on his nose, before die open Bible— he had been 
prowiing actively all about die island with his old gun, on watch 
over his honor. 

Linda, laying her diin, brown hand on his knee, tried to soodie 
his excitement. Ramirez was not in Sulaco. Nobody knew where 
he was. He was gone. His talk of what he w r ould do meant nodiing. 

"No," die old man interrupted. "But son Gian' Battista told 
me— quite of himself— diat die cowardly esclavo was drinking and 
gambling with die rascals of Zapiga, over diere on the north side of 



die gulf He may get some of the worst scoundrels of that 
scoundrelly town of negroes to help him in his attempt upon die 
litde one. . . . But I am not so old. No!" 

She argued earnesdy against die prohahility of any attempt 
heing made; and at last the old man fell silent, chewing his white 
mustache. Women had dieir obstinate notions which must be 
humored— his poor wife was like diat, and Linda resembled her 
modier. It was not seemly for a man to argue. "Maybe. Maybe," he 
mumbled. 

She was by no means easy in her mind. She loved Nostromo. 
She turned her eyes upon Giselle, sitting at a distance, widi 
something of maternal tenderness and die jealous rage of a rival 
outraged in her defeat. Then she rose and walked over to her. 

"Listen— you," she said, roughly. 

The invincible candor of die gaze raised up all violet and dew, 
excited her rage and admiration. She had beautiful eyes— die 
chica— this vile thing of white flesh and black deception. She did 
not know whedier she wanted to tear diem out with shouts of 
vengeance or cover up dieir mysterious and shameless innocence 
widi kisses of pity and love And suddenly diey became empty, 
gazing blankly at her, except for a litde tear not quite buried deep 
enough with all die other emotions in Giselle's heart. 

Linda said: "Ramirez is boasting in town diat he will carry you 
off from die island." 

"What follyF'answered die odier, and, in a perversity born of 
long restraint, she added, "He is not die man," in a jesting tone 
widi a trembling audacity. 

"No?" said Linda, dirough her clinched teedi. "Is he not? 
Well, dien, look to it; because fadier has been walking about with 
a loaded gun at night." 

"It is not good for him. You must tell him not to, Linda. He 
will not listen to me." 

"I shall say nodiing— never any more— to anybody!" cried 
Linda, passionately. 

This could not last, diought Giselle. Giovanni must take her 
away soon— die very next time he came. She would not suffer these 
terrors for ever so much silver. To speak widi her sister made her 
ill. But she was not uneasy at her father's watchfulness She had 
begged Nostromo not to come to the window diat night. He had 
promised to keep away for this once. And she did not know, could 
not guess nor imagine, diat he had anodier reason for coming on 
the island. 

Linda had gone straight to die tower. It was time to light up, 
She unlocked die litde door, and went heavily up die spiral 
staircase, carrying her love for die magnificent capataz de 
cargadores like an ever increasing load of shameful fetters. No; she 
could not dirow it off. No; let Heaven dispose of diese two. And 



moving about the lantern, filled with twilight and the sheen of die 
moon, widi careful movements she lighted die lamp. Then her 
arms fell along her body. 

"And with our modier looking on," she murmured. "My own 
sister— die chica!" 

The whole refracting apparatus, with its brass fittings and rings 
of prisms, glittered and sparkled like a dome shaped shrine of 
diamonds, containing not a lamp, but some splendid flame, 
dominating die sea. And Linda, die keeper, in black, widi a pale 
face, drooped low in a wooden chair, alone widi her jealousy, far 
above the shames and passions of die earth. A strange, dragging 
pain, as if somebody were pulling her about brutally by her dark 
hair widi bronze glints, made her put her hands up to her temples. 
They would meet. They would meet. And she knew where, too. 
At die window. The sweat of anguish fell in drops on her cheeks, 
while the moonlight in die offing closed as if widi a colossal bar of 
silver die entrance of die Placid Gulf— die sombre cavern of clouds 
and stillness in the surf-fretted seaboard. 

Linda Viola stood up suddenly widi a finger on her lip. He 
loved neither her nor her sister. The whole tiling seemed so 
objectiess as to frighten her, and also give her some hope. Why 
did he not carry her off? What prevented him? He was 
incomprehensible. What were diey waiting for? For what end were 
diese two lying and deceiving? Not for die ends of dieir love. 
There was no such tiling. The hope of regaining him for herself 
made her break her vow of not leaving die tower diat night. She 
must talk at once to her fadier, who was wise, and would 
understand. She ran down the spiral stairs. At die moment of 
opening die door at die bottom she heard the sound of die first 
shot ever fired on die Great Isabel. 

She felt a shock, as diough die bullet had struck her breast. 
She ran on widiout pausing. The cottage was dark She cried at die 
door, "Giselle* Giselle!" dien dashed round die comer and 
screamed her sister's name at die open window, widiout getting an 
answer, but as she was rushing, distracted, around die house, 
Giselle came out of the door and darted past her, running silendy, 
her hair loose and her eyes staring straight a